Rank gambles on £65m Blue Square | Media | The Guardian
Contact Us - Premier
Blue Square casino - Bet Online | Online Betting
Betfair acquires Blue Square Bet | iGaming Business
Welcome to Gettysburg (Day Three)
Day One Here Day Two Here JULY 3RD A FEW HOURS AFTER MIDNIGHT The night fighting on Culp’s Hill was slow and torturous. The Confederate assault from Johnson’s division had to cross rough terrain and a river before it even started going uphill, which at night was an incredibly miserable task even without Union troops firing at them. Union skirmishers played hell with their progress, and after brushing them aside, Johnson bumped into a defensive line that his Union counterpart Geary had spent all day perfecting. As mentioned yesterday, their only success was to grab tiny footholds on the Union side of Rock Creek, which ran between the two hills. As the fighting died away and the bone weary soldiers on both sides crashed asleep hard, Lee plotted. He smelled blood; on July 1st, they’d carved up the Union men good and drove them from the field. Yesterday, on the Union left, they’d wrecked a Union corps under Sickles, smashed into the Union center and almost broke it (damn those blue belly reinforcements showing up in the knick of time), and even gained a toehold on the Union right. The men’s morale was high. Lee decided to repeat yesterday’s plan, but better executed. Simultaneous attacks on both flanks should overwhelm them, and J.E.B. Stuart could make it up to all of them by chasing down the shattered Army of the Potomac to scoop up all the heavy guns and supplies and wounded that could not retreat rapidly. To which end, Lee sent Stuart on a super wide flanking attack around the Union right so as to be in position to strike at the right moment. Lee generated the orders in written form and sent them off by messenger to his corps commanders. Meanwhile, Meade had another war council face to face with his generals. They decided to stand pat, to neither attack the Confederate positions nor retreat back towards Washington. The terrain massively favored them and Lee would (more likely than not) walk into their gunsights again. A defensive stance, however, doesn’t mean pure passivity. A few hours after the Confederate assault petered out and Lee’s decision was made, the Union started a counterattack on a small scale. ———————————————————————— DAWN At dawn, the Union right flared up. Fresh troops had marched in overnight and Meade wanted his damn hill back. The extreme end of the Confederate left flank (which is of course opposite the Union right) found itself getting hammered in front of Culp’s Hill by artillery from the Baltimore Pike. Clearly, such a bombardment was meant to be followed up with an assault to retake the bridgehead. Johnson, having received his orders from Lee and being under the impression that Longstreet was attacking in tandem a mile and a half away on the other side of the hills, attacked Culp’s Hill again before the Union could attack him first. The plan was what the plan was; pressure here, successful or not, was needed for someone to break through somewhere. But Longstreet wasn’t attacking. Later on, Longstreet would claim to have never received the order to advance, but the sources I have assert this is untrue- he received the order, he just didn’t do anything about it. Instead of spending the night getting his troops on line to attack Little Round Top and the southern chunk of Cemetery Ridge, he just sat tight and did nothing. Oceans of ink have been spilled over the years speculating as to why. The Lost Cause narrative asserts that Longstreet was a Yankee-loving turncoat who deliberately sabotaged Lee’s plan and lost the battle on purpose. Others think that Longstreet's conviction that attacking here was insane and that they should fall back and look for battle somewhere else on more favorable terms had been strengthened by the results of July 2nd, and as such was dragging his heels trying to not attack again. Or maybe it was just the general haze of Civil War era incompetence taking its toll again. ———————————————————————— MORNING As Johnson’s men gamely attacked the untakeable Culp’s Hill and were cut down by accurate rifle fire and close range cannon fire, Lee hunted down Longstreet to demand an explanation for his borderline insubordinate refusal to attack. Longstreet pitched his idea again. He’d spent all night scouting the Union line. The enemy line was unbreakable. They shouldn’t try to attack them here. They should slip around the Union left, south of Big Round Top, to threaten the Union supply lines. Do that, they would make the Union respond to them, fight them on more equal terms. That’s the plan Longstreet had been preparing for all night, not a suicidal- Lee cut him off with a raised fist. There would be no tricky maneuver around the flank. They would assault the Union line under the present conditions. To the north, Johnson was still getting his teeth kicked in. Lee sent orders to call off the assault, but it would take a while for the messenger to get there and for Johnson to get word to his brigades to stand down and fall back. Meanwhile, across the way on Cemetery Ridge, Meade stalked his line, double checking all the positions for any confusions or errors to correct, emitting confidence and good cheer. Lee scoped out the Union center personally, being in the area anyway. His complex double flanking maneuver wasn't working. A new plan was needed. Lee figured that Meade had reinforced Little Round Top and the surrounding area yesterday, and that those troops hadn’t gone anywhere since. The Union defense at Culp’s Hill has been similarly fierce that morning, fierce enough to threaten Johnson with an offensive. If both flanks were strong... the center must be weak. Yesterday, a small Confederate brigade had crossed the Emmitsburg road under fire and smashed into the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, just south of Cemetery Hill. They had straight up routed the enemy- had there been more men available to back them up and follow through, that small brigade might have won the battle outright instead of being pushed back as they’d been. Lee was satisfied. The Union center was brittle, undermanned, and the best point to hit it was at that same place. Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart was stepping off on his flanking ride. ———————————————————————— LATE MORNING Johnson’s last big push up Culp’s Hill was heroic. By that time, all of them knew how strong the Union position was. They surely walked into this with their eyes open. A three brigade front set up for a shock attack, backed up by four more to exploit the hoped-for opening. Among them was the famous Stonewall Brigade, Jackson's old unit that he’d raised up and trained personally before being tapped for higher command. The Stonewall Brigade was, arguably, the elite of the Confederate army. The year before, they’d outmaneuvered and outfought a Union stab at Richmond coming through the Shenandoah valley. The charge was cut down and butchered like all the others, and Johnson fell back. Williams, whose batteries on the Baltimore Pike had kicked things off that morning, got a little overexcited and counterattacked without orders. His orders to attack the Confederate flank left his subordinates sickened with dread, but were obeyed nonetheless. Once the Union counterattack was butchered in retaliation by the entrenched Confederates, combat on the Union right ceased after six straight hours of gory, hopeless combat. Meanwhile, Confederate artillery under the command of Colonel Alexander set itself up on a mile wide front, all carefully sited and positioned both for protection and for good lines of sight on the Union center. A brief but fierce artillery duel kicked off as each side tried to knock out the other’s firing points before the big moment, but was soon cut off to preserve ammo. Lee mustered his available forces, bringing in troops that were only now straggling in and combining them with some units that had fought the day before. It was a haphazard and frankly half-assed piece of staff work- veteran units who hadn’t fought at all in the last two days were left in reserve, while exhausted troops who’d already suffered 50% casualties were included. Many of the brigades who were to charge Cemetery Ridge had green colonels in charge because their generals had been killed or wounded the day before. The gap between the northern half of the assaulting force and the southern half was four football fields long, and nobody seemed to notice or care. The division commander to lead the north side of the assault, General Pettigrew, was selected not for any rational consideration or advantage, but because he happened to be standing nearby when the decision was being made. Longstreet, who by this point wanted nothing to do with any of it, was placed in overall command. It took a few hours to organize this clusterfuck into something resembling a coherent unit- three divisions spread over a mile wide front, with Pickett on the left, Pettigrew on the right, and Trimble behind them to provide some depth to the big push. There is no particularly good reason why the upcoming Pickett’s Charge is known as “Pickett’s Charge”. Pickett was not actually in charge of it, or even in charge of most of it. He was a division commander who had never seen proper combat before- in every battle since 1861, his unit had been held in reserve or absent. This was to be his first chance to get in this war. I suspect it’s known as Pickett’s Charge because he and his men were Virginians, and it was fellow Virginians who would pour over the battle to find out why the wrong side won. Accordingly, they conceived of it as being a Virginian affair, overshadowing the Tennesseans, Alabamans, North Carolinians, and Mississippians who formed the other two-thirds of the attack. I was surprised to learn that we have a hard time figuring out how many men were actually involved in Pickett’s Charge (this being a basic narrative history, I am sticking with the common name for it despite the inaccuracy); I attribute this to the confusion involved in organizing it. I’ve heard as low as 12,500 men and as high as 15,000. I’m going with 14,000 men because it’s a nice even number that is approximately midway between the upper and lower limit, so don’t mistake my choice as being accurate or even evidence-based per se. Regardless, the agreed upon number of Union defenders is 6,500. The Confederates would outnumber the Union by about 2-1 or greater at the point of contact. These days, a lot of people show up at the battlefield and stare out from Cemetery Ridge at Spangler Woods where Pettigrew would have emerged from (or stand in Spangler’s Woods and stare out at Cemetery Ridge, same difference) and wonder what the hell was going through Lee’s head. The ground there is now flat and devoid of cover, the exact kind of terrain that time and time again had proven to be a death sentence for infantry assaults. The answer is that the ground changed between 1863 and today. Just before World War One ended in 1918, the field over which Pickett charged was artificially flattened for tank training. Before that, it was the kind of rolling terrain that Buford’s skirmishers had exploited on day one- an observer from a distance would see the troops disappear and reappear as they went over and down each gentle slope. The 14,000 attackers would have some cover as they advanced- not perfect terrain to keep immune from artillery and bullets, but not explicit suicide either. ———————————————————————— EARLY AFTERNOON By 1 PM, Alexander had his guns set up the way he liked them. What followed at his command was the single largest coordinated artillery mission that the Western Hemisphere had ever seen. In the south, cannons at the Peach Orchard suppressed the Union firing point on Little Round Top. All along Seminary Ridge from whence the charge would spring, cannons lined up practically wheel to wheel for a mile, aimed at wrecking Cemetery Ridge. Longstreet was in what you might call a high stress kind of mood. He was having second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts about attacking, but orders were orders and he was in charge of this damned charge. As the guns began their bombardment, Longstreet did something that frankly goes beyond the pale of any command decision I’ve ever heard of. The film Gettysburg and the novel it’s based on cast Longstreet in a very sympathetic light, as a kind of deliberate pushback against the reductive myth that Longstreet was personally responsible for losing the battle and by extension the war, leaving Lee off the hook to stay firmly in the saintly canon of the Lost Cause. But here, Longstreet indisputably abdicates any pretense of the responsibility of command. He fired an order off to Colonel Alexander, telling him:
If the artillery fire does not have the effect to drive off the enemy, or greatly demoralize him, so as to make our effort pretty certain, I would prefer that you should not advise General Pickett to make the charge. I shall . . . expect you to let General Pickett know when the moment offers.
Allow me to reiterate in case you were reading this on autopilot. Longstreet, the man in charge of the whole offensive, was telling a lowly artillery colonel that the decision when and if to attack was on him and no one else. Alexander was a subject matter expert on artillery and not infantry for a reason. This order hit him from out of left field. He wrote back for clarification, and the professional in him mentioned that since the plan is to use every single artillery shell they can spare, if there is any alternative plan to charging Cemetery Hill at the end of the bombardment then they’d better tell him before he runs out of ammo. And Longstreet reiterated his first order. He told Alexander to advise General Pickett whether or not to attack. And with that on his shoulders, Alexander gave the order to open fire. All told, somewhere between 150 and 170 guns opened up at the same moment. The 75 Union cannons they had on hand briefly engaged in counter-battery fire, before being ordered to go quiet and save ammunition for the infantry assault to come. For about an hour, the Union troops just had to sit still and take what the Rebel had to give them. What Lee was doing was classic Napoleonic tactics. Massing artillery against the weakest point on the enemy line was literally by the book soldiering. The problem, as was noted here before, was that technology had changed. Napoleonic could bring his cannon close to the frontline with the reasonable expectation that they wouldn’t be shot, since smoothbore muskets are basically harmless from 200 yards away. But that was no longer the case. The long stand off distance that the enemy rifles dictated meant that the cannonfire was proportionally less accurate and devastating. The smoke covering the field concealed the truth from the Confederates- their artillery fire was off. Most of the shells flew high overhead and exploded behind Cemetery Ridge. Some shells hit the target area- Union men did die screaming by the score. But the positions on Cemetery Hill were only lightly damaged, and the units manning them were intact and cohesive. Most of the damage done was to the rear echelon types- surgeons, supply wagoneers, staff officers, that kind of thing. Such men were massacred as the shells aimed at men a quarter mile away arced over and found marks elsewhere. Meade, of course, was on hand, showing a brave face and cracking some jokes about a similar moment in the Mexican-American War 15 years back. Throughout the hour, as his line endured the steel hailstorm, Meade’s engineer mind was working. He’d already suspected that Lee was about to hit his center- he’d predicted as much the night before- and now the shot placements confirmed it. He was already ordering troops into position, getting ready to reinforce the line on Cemetery Ridge if needed. He hedged his bets, putting them in a position to relieve Cemetery Hill as well, just in case. Little Round Top became somewhat less defended as men marched out, using the high ground to mask their redeployment. Irresponsible and insubordinate though Longstreet was at that moment, he was right. Lee’s improvised plan had already failed, though it hadn’t happened yet. Pickett’s Charge wasn’t going to slam into a fragmented and demoralized Union line. It was heading into a mile long, mile wide kill zone backed up by a defence in depth. ———————————————————————— Pickett’s Charge Confederates were getting mangled before the charge even started. Union artillery fire reached out and touched out them in Spangler’s Woods, rolling solid iron shot and explosive shells into their huddled ranks. Longstreet rode the line, exposing himself to the artillery fire to set an example of courage. The men didn’t need such an example- or rather, they’ve seen such examples in a dozen battles over the last two years and have already learned valor as a second language- but there’s something to be said for showing the groundpounders that their boss is in the wrong end of the shooting gallery the same way that they are. Just before 2 p.m., Alexander decided if it’s gonna happen, it’d have to be now. He needed at least a small reserve of shells to function after the battle and he’s running out fast. He dashed off a note to Pickett telling him to step off. In keeping with the standard of Confederate comms thus far, Pickett then took Alexander’s note to Longstreet in person for confirmation, because nobody had told him that Longstreet was trying to dodge the responsibility of command. Longstreet was desperate for an out, and in one crazed leap of illogic he thought he found one. Alexander was low on shells, with only a tiny reserve of ammunition left over for self-defense! Longstreet issued orders to halt in place and delay some more, so that they could replenish their ammo chests from their strategic reserves. I really feel for Alexander, man. I've had bosses like that too. Alexander had to break the news to Longstreet that there was no strategic reserve, he already told him, they were shooting every round they got. Longstreet was shocked- apparently nobody on Lee's staff had been paying attention to how fast they'd been burning through their artillery rounds. (Meade's staff paid attention to such banal details- that's why they now had tons of ammunition standing by their guns on Cemetery Ridge, patiently waiting for something valuable to shoot at). Even then, Longstreet couldn’t bring himself to actually say the words to order the attack. He just nodded, mute and numb. At 2 p.m., the attack started. 14,000 men rose up and walked forward, a giant line of infantry one mile across. In lieu of specific instructions about where they were going and how to get there, the order was to aim for a copse of trees on the objective- an easy visual marker that was easy to remember. As long as you kept the trees in sight and kept moving forward, you were right. (Miles and miles away, J.E.B. Stuart’s flanking maneuver was being countered by an equal force of Union cavalry. Their clash had one of the few cavalry-on-cavalry battles of the Civil War; fun fact, this was one of the fights that put Custer’s career on the map, until getting killed off by the Cheyenne at Little Big Horn 13 years later. The battle was intense, but a draw; Stuart couldn’t break through. Even if Pickett’s Charge worked, there’d have been no way to follow up and finish Meade off for good. Lee’s plan was well and truly fucked.) Things immediately stopped being clean and neat, as per the usual. The center of Pickett’s Charge sprang up and walked before the flanks did, but the brigades on the south and the north of them set off late, leading to a kind of droopy effect where the center bulged out unsupported. When the Union soldiers manning Cemetery Ridge saw the Confederate advance begin, they began to chant “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!” Just a little “fuck you” from one set of veterans to another; at Fredericksburg eight months before, Union General Burnside had ordered several such suicidal attacks on prepared defenses which the Confederates had gleefully blasted into chunky salsa. 70 odd guns opened up on them all. To give a sense of the skill involved, the artilleryman in charge of the Union guns, Colonel Hunt, had written the book on artillery- literally, because his work Instructions for Field Artillery was the go-to manual for the US Army- and at West Point had personally taught most of the Confederate artillery officers across the way everything they knew about the big guns. One must not mistake this as just plopping down the cannons and pointing them in the right direction. Hunt was an artist with his weapon systems, and the pattern of explosions that snaked into the advancing infantry had been painstakingly designed by a master craftsman. At the distance of a mile, it was iron shot and shell that carved bloody little holes into the line. The Confederates took the beating, closed ranks, and pushed on. On the south, the cannons on Little Round Top delivered particularly hideous effects from the flank, driving their line into disorder; some brigades cut in front of other brigades, and what should have been a line became a muddled column. On the north, a brigade under General Brockenbrough bumped into a small detachment of 160 Union men who were jutting out north of the road. The Union men fired a small but devastating volley that raked them from the side and broke their nerves. Brockenbrough’s men ran- the first to break, but not the last. Similar small detachments of skirmishers dotted No Man’s Land between the armies. Between their vicious little ambushes and the massive shock of massed artillery, Pickett’s Charge slowed down. Slowing down just left them in the kill zone for that much longer. When Pickett’s Charge reached the Emmitsburg Road, they were further delayed by the stiff fencing that lined it. As they clambered over it, Union infantry opened fire at long range. The casualties skyrocketed as the Confederate line absorbed the fire. If you want to know what it was like under fire, picture the start of a rainstorm. The water droplets go taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap... that's how the survivors described the musketry that pelted the fence they were trying to climb over. One small contingent of Davis’ brigade (you recall how roughly they were manhandled on July the 1st) accidentally got ahead of everybody else and found itself standing right in front of the Union line all alone. The guys closest to the Union defenses surrendered as one; the rest got shot up bad and ran for their lives. Pickett’s Charge was pure chaos by then- their mile wide front that had surged forth from Spangler’s Wood had shrunk down to about a half mile, partly from taking casualties, partly from brigades running away after the shock of massed fire, and partly from bridges shifting north away from flanking fire from their right side. From the fence line on the Emmitsburg to the stone wall that protected the Union defense was about two hundred yards. This is a long shot for a rifle, especially under pressure- that’s the whole point to volley fire, so that everybody shooting at once will create a sort of probability cloud of danger even at long range. Some Confederates, desperate to hit back after enduring hell, shot anyway. Their fire was ineffective. It is a very, very short shot for an artillery piece, even under pressure. A battery of cannons placed just behind the Union line switched to canister and blasted massive bloody holes in the bunched up Confederates. A lot of Confederates huddled up behind the fencing and stayed put. It is marginally safer than moving two feet forward past the wooden railings, and the spirit had been knocked out of them by the mile long charge and the mile long shooting gallery they’d been subjected to. The left side of the attack had been stopped dead and turned back; the right side pushed on, disregarding any thought but closing distance. 1,500 men blitzed those last 200 yards to the stone wall Scores of them died from rifle fire as the cannons reloaded. The surviving Confederates, running on pure adrenaline, reached the stone wall at a place called the Bloody Angle. The Union line was disjointed, with the Northern section slightly back from the southern section. The Angle was the little joint that connected the two walls; it was also right by the copse of trees that everybody was racing towards. A fierce firefight broke out once the Confederates reached the wall. Most of them stayed behind the wall; like their buddies to the west still behind the fence on the Emmitsburg pike, they’d finally found a few square feet that was sorta kinda safe, and every instinct they had in their brains screamed at them to stay there. The Union troops were outnumbered at the point of impact, and backed off in good order. Reserve regiments were already marching up to plug the gap that didn’t exist yet. Units north and south of the Bloody Angle shifted in place to fire at the beachhead. Behind the Confederates on the Angle, there was a small ocean of blood on the ground and a mile long procession of silent, mangled dead and writhing, screaming wounded... but no follow on reinforcements to help exploit the breakthrough. General Armistead, the only Confederate General there still on his feet, still believed in all that chivalrous Walter Scott romantic nonsense, still thought that raw valor and heart could somehow beat a superior enemy. He stuck his hat on his sword as a makeshift battle flag and rallied his men to leave the safety of the Bloody Angle and close distance. Just as the pitifully few Confederates got on the east side of the wall, the cannons shot canister again and puked metal death all over them. After shooting, the artillerymen ran back to safety before the rebels could stagger up to them. Hundreds of men surged forward by inertia; hundreds out of the 14,000 that they’d started with. They drove off the understrength Union regiments with the bayonet and capture those hated big guns, turning them around to use against the inevitable counterattack. This failed; there was no more ammo left for the guns. Colonel Hunt had measured out the number of rounds needed for the job at hand with the utmost precision. The counterattack was messy and bloody for everybody involved, for the brawl saw everything available used as a weapon- bullets, bayonets, rifle butts, pistols, knives, rocks, boot heels, bare hands. But the Confederates all just dissolved after a short while. Nobody ordered a retreat; nobody was alive and of sufficient rank to order a retreat. Thousands just plopped down where they stood and waited for Union men to come out and collect them. They were too numb and exhausted to walk anymore. Others streamed back to safety in ones and twos. For every Confederate who died, four more were maimed and crippled. For every wounded man, another was taken prisoner. It was an unmitigated disaster for the Confederate cause, and correspondingly it was a triumph of humanity as the stalwart defenders of the slave plantations died in droves. Remember, like I said, we’re rooting for the Union. The battle wasn’t over, not really. Not was the campaign. But it certainly was decided. ———————————————————————— RIGHT SO Interestingly, at first it was kind of ambiguous who won. Meade got fired from the job after Lee got the Army of Northern Virginia home intact. Lincoln was seething that Meade hadn’t shown some aggression and had failed to destroy Lee’s army as he had been ordered. Meade, however, didn’t have much of an army at that point, just a diverse collection of units that had suffered 50% casualties and were in no condition to do anything. Moreover, there had been no way to bring the retreating Lee to battle without taking a lot of risks that might see all the good done at Gettysburg undone. Still though. Meade was out, and Grant, riding high after his conquest of Vicksburg, was in. Lee initially claimed victory in the Richmond papers, and it was hard to gainsay him at first. He had indisputably invaded north and thrashed the living shit out of the Army of the Potomac so bad that they could not invade again in 1863, which was indeed partly the point of the strategy. But soon the facts of life made themselves clear. Lee had holes in his ranks that simply could not be filled anymore. Southerners didn’t want to die in a losing war, and coercing in them into the ranks through State violence only gave him shitty recruits who would desert the second they were put on guard duty. In contrast, tens of thousands of men poured into training depots across the nation, all armed and clothed and fed by the grandest industrial base in the world. Thousands of experienced veterans re-upped their contracts in Gettysberg’s wake to become these new recruits’ NCOs and commanding officers. Lee has gone north to break the will of the Union to continue the fight. Gettysburg had, if anything, demoralized the Confederacy and reinvigorated the Union instead. I do not believe that Gettysburg started this trend, but I do think it sped it up significantly. Patterns that might have taken a year to come to fruition instead took months. Gettysburg, in my opinion, is significant not because of any great gains or losses on the material level, but because of its effects on the minds of voters and soldiers and politicians in the North and the South. To crib C. S. Lewis really quick, what matters was not whether a given action would take a specific hill, or seize a certain road; what matters is whether a given action pushes people to either dig their heels in and seek victory at any personal cost, or whether it pushes them to back down and seek a safer compromise. Gettysburg pushed all of the American people in the directions they were already heading down, that’s all. Any conclusion beyond that is on shaky ground, I feel. Having said that, I shall now irrationally contradict myself; Gettysburg can also act as a Rorschach test with symbols and images and stories in lieu of the ink blots. Like I said, it’s a place of religious significance to me to an extent far beyond appreciation for its historic value. I just don’t think it’s possible for that many people to die in such a short period of time, in so compact an area, and with such blunt contempt for the foreseen probability of violent death, and not leave an indelible and ineffable mark on the land itself. Like, if humanity went extinct and Earth got colonized by Betelgeusians a hundred years after, I am certain that the aliens would somehow feel a chill in their exoskeletons when they walk over the soft leaves and through the bare trees of Herbst Wood, or tromp around the south side of Little Round Top, or poke about on the steep slope of Culp's Hill, or splash across the Plum River in the Valley of Death. I’m not saying I’m right, of course. But I am saying how I feel.
Nothing is more horrifying to an adventurer than a Rust Monster, its mere touch turning their weapons to rust - Lore & History
This week we bring forward a horrifying bug! This strange monster is known as the Rust Monster, and as you may have gathered from its name, it has something to do with rust. For all the monsters that have come and gone, it’s a little surprising that this strange looking creature has traveled through time. It certainly hasn't existed this long because of its good looks, but from the unique ability to destroy metal. Finally, we have a monster that doesn’t want to eat your face off but rather is interested in what you wear. This roach-like creature doesn’t bother trying to hurt you, instead, it focuses on corroding your weapon while it’s still in your hand. Like the Owlbear, the Rust Monster is one of the original monsters created by Gary Gygax. Inspired by a toy he picked up for his game since most miniatures were for armies and not horrifying monsters, he created a creature that could not physically hurt you, but the mental damage it inflicted was far worse. In an interview with Dragon magazine, Gygax tells of how he came up with the Rust Monster.
When I picked up a bag of plastic monsters made in Hong Kong at the local dime store to add to the sand table array … there was the figurine that looked rather like a lobster with a propeller on its tail … nothing very fearsome came to mind… Then inspiration struck me. It was a Rust Monster. Dragon Magazine #88 (1984)
No. Appearing: 1-2 Armor Class: 2 Move: 12” Hit Dice: 5 % in Lair: Nil No. of Attacks: 1 Damage/Attack: Special Treasure: Nil
The Rust Monster was introduced in the Greyhawk Supplement (1974) and might be one of the more interesting monsters to be introduced in this edition. Not only is it more than just a typical monster that goes around murdering in a dungeon, but it also has a special way of dealing with adventurers that helps it stand out. We can only imagine the look of confusion at Gary Gygax’s table as he puts down his little toy Rust Monster and told everyone to roll their initiative… promptly followed by his uncontrollable giggling. They had no idea what was heading for them. Unfortunately for the rest of the Dungeons & Dragons community that bought the supplement there is no picture to giggle at and there is no information describing exactly what the Rust Monster even looks like. The closest we get to a description is that it looks like an “inoffensive creature” and that it is very fast, which is not exactly inspiring horrifying images of a bug-thing trying to eat your metal bits. An encounter with the Rust Monster probably looked very different from table to table back then, but the mechanics of this monster would be similar. A group of adventurers is wandering around a dungeon when they stumble across 1 to 2 inoffensive but fast creatures. They decide this is a good time to put that fancy new magical sword to the test and the fighter goes to stab at this inoffensive looking creature. The blade then disappears into rust as it hits the monster, then it’s the Rust Monsters turn who inoffensively attacks the fighter turning all of their plate armor into rust immediately. We now have a naked fighter sprinting back to the party screaming about how the Rust Monster is invincible and that the magic-user needs to destroy it with a fireball. Before we talk about what makes the Rust Monster so special, let’s look at their more generic statistics and how they stack up. Their AC is surprisingly high, as an AC 2 is equivalent to that of an umber hulk and even to some dragons. Their described “fast-ness” gives them a movement rate that allows them to keep up with most characters, if not chase them down. For such an inoffensive looking creature they also have a decent amount of Hit Dice, so that’s just one more surprise the party is in store for them when the fireball clears and these creatures are charging you, smelling that delicious sweet iron. What truly makes the Rust Monster special though is their only attack that simply relies on them touching you. Their touch simply turns your armor into rust, this could be a metal shield, a holy amulet, or even a powerful magical artifact. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as it has that delicious ferrous material in it, meaning anything with iron content. Of course, that’s not the only problem when dealing with these annoying monsters. If you try to beat them away with your sword, your weapon turns to rust upon touching them, it doesn’t matter if it is magical or not. All you are doing by using your iron weapons against a Rust Monster is simply feeding them. These creatures feed on the rust that was once a family heirloom passed down countless generations… Also, they can smell any iron-based metals and are attracted to it, so you might know to avoid them all the while they are specifically running after you, hungry for that delicious armor your fighter is wearing.
Armor Class: 2 Hit Dice: 5* Move: 120’ (40’) Attacks: 1 Damage: See below No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-4) Save As: Fighter 3 Morale: 7 Treasure Type: Nil Alignment: Neutral XP Value: 300
The Rust Monster appears in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977) with nothing new, luckily for the Rust Monster, it gets a few updates in the updated Moldvay/Cook Basic Set (1981) and the BECMI Basic Set (1983). The original Basic Set from 1977 still has no information describing what this ‘inoffensive’ creature looks like and the limited information provided in OD&D is cut down even further. It’s not until the next Basic Set in 1981 that those who play Basic are able to gaze with horror at this monster and get a more detailed explanation of what exactly it is. The Rust Monster is described as a giant armadillo with a long tail, it has two feelers in the front that are more aptly described as long antennae. This description makes us question the ‘inoffensive’ tag that they had been described with previously, those who hail from Texas and similar southwestern states can attest that armadillos aren’t the prettiest of creatures. Combine that with an extra long tail and two long feelers on its face, that the artwork depicts as fuzzy, it makes us worried it is going to feast on our face. Despite the overall sense of danger we get from this creature, at least there is no new lore that it likes to eat people, so that’s a plus. With little no new information provided in the BECMI Basic Set, let’s go over a change that is featured in the 1981 and 1983 sets with regards to the Rust Monster's only attack. Hitting or being hit by the Rust Monster causes normal metal armor or weapons to immediately rust on contact and, as the description so helpfully points out, they become completely unusable. Thanks for letting us know a pile of rust doesn’t function anymore! Now, that’s all as before, but this time we get clarification on magical items that might make you feel a teensy bit safer in fighting them. If you strike out at the Rust Monster, which actually makes you the monster, they just want a snack, your +2 magical sword will be reduced by 1 step to a +1 magical sword. It’s not so mean to the fighters, and in fact, your magical sword and magical armor get a chance to save against this type of effect! When you hit or get hit by them, the item targeted by the Rust Monster’s effect gets a 10% chance for every magical bonus to its stats to save against being turned into rust. This means that a +2 shield would have a 20% chance of not being reduced to a +1 shield when struck, while a +1 weapon would have a 10% chance of not becoming a mundane sword. In the 1983 Basic Set, there is a solo adventure to help teach new players how to play Dungeons & Dragons and features you assuming the role of a fighter and going around and clearing the nearby caves of baddies. The adventure is set up like a choose your own adventure and has you fighting goblins, ghouls, and the Rust Monster. During the fight with this horrendous monster, it strips you of all your armor and weapons and then, as you stand their defenseless bracing yourself for the final blow… it loses interest in you and starts eating all the rust your equipment made for it. According to this adventure, Rust Monsters are not evil or mean, just hungry for rust, and have no intention of killing you. This is a great little tidbit hiding behind an adventure about the monster and how it operates inside of the world, it’s a little sad that this type of information wasn’t made available in the description of the monster. We might’ve saved even more of these strange monsters from being killed by murder-hobo players!
Frequency: Uncommon No. Appearing: 1-2 Armor Class: 2 Move: 18” Hit Dice: 5 % in Lair: 10% Treasure Type: Q (x10) No. of Attacks: 2 Damage/Attack: Nil Special Attacks: See below Special Defenses: Nil Magic Resistance: Standard Intelligence: Animal Alignment: Neutral Size: M Psionic Ability: Nil
Unfortunately for the Rust Monster, it doesn’t change much in this edition, though it at least makes it into the Monster Manual (1977). Rust Monsters will only be found in dark, damp locations like dungeons, underground caverns, or potentially in a sewer. They spend their time wandering around, looking for food that, as mentioned previously, is made up of metal. For them, their ideal food is ferrous metals and they typically disregard metals like gold or silver, unlike the humanoids that wander the world murdering for it. The Rust Monster will hunt out these metal types, such as steel, iron, mithral, adamantine, and the like, being able to smell it from a fair distance away. Now we are sure they do other things other than just looking for food, like make more Rust Monsters, but we have no additional details. For all we know, they could be the life of the party at dungeon gatherings. 1st edition also uses the same rules as Basic does when it comes to how they deal with weapons and armor. Anything they touch with an antenna rusts away so long as it is a metal and anything you touch them with rusts away if it is a metal. If you are carrying out some magical items, you get that all-important saving throw to not lose it forever as it gets a cumulative 10% per magical bonus to the item. There is a big difference however, if the item fails the save, it immediately turns to rust. None of that wimpy being reduced by one so that your +2 sword would become a +1 sword. Fail that save and say goodbye to the magical flail your deity bestowed upon you. Good luck trying to explain that one. The last bit of information you can squeeze out of the description is that Rust Monsters are easily distracted. When you decide to run away, and if your party is made up of only fighters clad in plate, and you should run away, you can distract the Rust Monster from chasing you down. You’ll finally have a use for those caltrops you’ve been carrying around forever as you throw them on the ground and the Rust Monster will pause to have a snack. It’s a quick eater though, as it will only stop for a single round to munch on them. So get behind a door and wedge it shut. Now only if you had some caltrops… We find out much more information about the Rust Monster in Ed Greenwood’s Ecology of the Rust Monster (Dragon Magazine #88, 1984). We know exactly what the first thing you want to know about these Rust Monsters is, and don’t worry, we’ll let you know right after we talk about the important lore we learn about the Rust Monster. If you just can’t wait, skip this next paragraph. Rust Monsters are highly dependent on their sense of smell, which makes sense as we know they can smell metals from a distance, but what you didn’t know is that if the Rust Monster can’t smell the object, they won’t know it is there. If some beautiful and tasty ferrous metal is hanging out in plain view, and for some reason they can’t smell it, it’ll completely ignore it and keep on walking past it. This ability to sniff out metals, and even to turn metals into rust, is thanks to a unique strain of bacteria that exists within the Rust Monster. It turns out, the Rust Monster is a host to this bacteria that produces sugar out of metals, more specifically ferrous metals, and then provides that nutrition to the Rust Monster. This, coupled with the energy of sunlight, which is weird as they hang out in dark, damp locations, keep the bacteria and the Rust Monster alive, rusting, and in good health. No one knows exactly what this bacteria is and it can’t live outside of the Rust Monster, but there are many interested in trying to grow their own and see what else they can do with such marvelous bacteria. Now, for the information, you were dying to learn. If you skipped the paragraph above just so you could find this information out… well, we don’t know what that means about you. Rust Monsters reproduce by finding another one of their kind, the male Rust Monster will then begin making chittering noises. Because they aren’t very picky about who they propagate their species with, and that they mate very often, the female is more than likely down, and then 4 to 7 months later a baby Rust Monster will be born completely whole and ready to start devouring metals. It will stay with its mother for a few months before running off on its own and after a year of being alive, it’ll start chittering around to make more rust babies.
Climate/Terrain: Subterranean Frequency: Uncommon Organization: Solitary Activity Cycle: Night Diet: Metalalove Intelligence: Animal (1) Treasure: Q Alignment: Nil [MC] / Neutral [MM] No. Appearing: 1 -2 Armor Class: 2 Movement: 18 Hit Dice: 5 THAC0: 15 No. of Attacks: 2 Damage/Attack: Nil Special Attacks: See below Special Defenses: Nil Magic Resistance: Nil Size: M (5’ long) Morale: Average (9) XP Value: 270
The Rust Monster is forced to wait until the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989) to get some love from 2nd edition and is later reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). This edition goes to greater lengths to depict it more like an insect than in the previous versions, and outside of the metallic-like shell that covers it back, looks nothing like an armadillo. A yellowish-brown color, it now smells like wet, oxidizing metal. Yum. It has two freakishly long antennae extending out from its face, its legs look like they belong on a cricket, and its tail has a hammer or paddle-like extension in the back. It’s a very strange creature, but the text assures us it is still very inoffensive and just wants to eat. This edition goes to great lengths to paint this monster as not an evil creature, but a misunderstood one that just can’t help its nature. Due to its ever-present hunger, it has little interest in anything that doesn’t have metal. In fact, it is quite excited when it smells metal, especially if it is forged and worked metal like your fighter’s plate armor. They prefer eating refined metal armor than just chunky raw ore, but that doesn’t make them an evil creature. Wouldn’t you rather have a meal from a fine dining restaurant than have to eat prison food? Of course, you would, and your shiny +1 sword is a gourmet meal to the Rust Monster. If you don’t happen to carry any metal, looking at you wizards, it won’t bother you but will sniff at you curiously. If you have nothing of interest, read: metal food, it will leave you alone and continue looking for scrumptious morsels to feast on. Now if you’re a dwarf, these creatures are like roaches to you, a pest that you want to eradicate. Dwarves aren’t known to be the sharing type, and since our Rust Monster eats the precious metals they use in their forges, they must be eliminated with extreme prejudice. Little changes for the Rust Monster, attacks against them with metal weapons will turn those same weapons into rust. Attacks by the Rust Monster don’t hurt you but do leave you naked as your armor turns to rust. All magical metal items get a chance of not turning to rust on contact, the same as the previous edition. The largest change is that now, there is a 30% chance per round that a Rust Monster will simply stop mid-combat to snack on any rust that has formed as you tried to keep it away. It doesn’t matter how much of your stuff it has turned to rust, or how much more stuff you have that would be tasty, it will always take one round to consume all the rust around it. For the sake of argument, let’s say you kill a Rust Monster because there is no driving these creatures away. They are apparently too stupid to have a sense of self-preservation and only have the thought to consume more and more rust. If you kill one of these innocent and pure creatures, what type of treasure can you expect? Well, there is a very high likelihood you’ll find rust… from your own equipment. But also gems! Rust Monsters don’t collect treasures and don’t have a use for gems that are embedded into sword hilts or helmets, leaving them scattered around on the floor. Maybe their young like to play with gems like they are balls when they aren’t gorging themselves on rust. Speaking of their young there is a small chance that you could find a happy little family, with the parents having a single offspring with them. Being an only child has its challenges, but at least it won’t have to share its meals. The kiddo may only be at the half-strength of a normal Rust Monster, but it eats as if it is fully grown. Creatures that eat organic materials and leave behind the metals, such as carrion crawlers and gelatinous cubes, are their best friends, following behind and eating the discarded metals. The last new tidbit of information you can glean about the Rust Monsters takes us off the Prime Material Plane and out into the Outer Planes. On the first layer of the plane of Acheron, Avalas, you might stumble across a strange sight. That of an insectoid-dragon with its tendrils turning the metal cubes of Acheron to rust for it too greedily devour. These Rust Dragons are supposedly the imago, or adult, form of the Rust Monster, while the Rust Monsters we all know and love, well maybe not love, the larva forms of the Rust Dragons. Rust Monsters will somehow journey, once they get incredibly old, to the Outer Plane of Acheron where they will gorge themselves for a whole year on the metal cubes located on Avalas. After a year passes, they will then spin themselves a metallic web and will go into the pupa stage inside of their chrysalis where they will undergo a metamorphosis for three years. Upon emerging out of their metal spun shell, they will take on the form of a Rust Dragon and begin a long life of happily gorging themselves on the metal cubes of Acheron.
Medium Aberration Hit Dice: 5d8+5 (27 hp) Initiative: +3 Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares) Armor Class: 18 (+3 Dex, +5 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 15 Base Attack/Grapple +3/+3 Attacks: Antennae touch +3 melee (rust) Full Attack: Antennae touch +3 melee (rust) and bite -2 melee (1d3) Space/Reach: 5 ft./5ft. Special Attacks: Rust Special Qualities: Darkvision, scent Saves: Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5 Abilities: Str 10, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 8 Skills: Listen +7, Spot +7 Feats: Alertness, Track Climate/Terrain: Underground Organization: Solitary or pair Challenge Rating: 3 Treasure: None Alignment: Always neutral Advancement: 6-8 HD (Medium); 9-15 HD (Large) Level Adjustment: -
The Rust Monster moves on up in this edition and gets introduced in the Monster Manual (2000/2003). To some, it now looks more like an insect than in the previous versions, while others may think it now looks like an ugly mess of skin pudding. Looking at the artwork, Rust Monsters now have the coloring of reddish hues into a yellowish-brown color. It very much looks like it is rust, whether or not it is because of years of eating rust has stained its body. 3rd edition also introduces something new for the Rust Monster, it can now hurt you by biting on to you for a paltry 1d3 points of damage. Of course, its primary attack, corroding all your metal items, is now listed as a “Rust” attack. So much for originality, but it gets the point across. Also, we finally have a measurement of how much metal can be rusted in one attack, and that is a 10-foot cube of metal. That is over a ton of metal to destroy in one blow. Magic items no longer get a percentage chance of being affected, rather you must make a Reflex saving throw or watch as your beautiful set of ancient plate armor from a lost civilization rusts away into a pile of delicious food. We suppose if we just watched what could only be called a priceless artifact get turned into chowder, we’d be a bit upset too. Now, we aren’t opposed to change, in fact we enjoy seeing how monsters augment and morph throughout the many editions, even if we complain about it. We only mention this because of the great injustice that 3e piles onto the Rust Monster who just wants to eat all your delicious goodies. In the Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons (2003), there is an entry for the Rust Dragon and they are mentioned. You might think that that is appropriate, since the Rust Dragon is just a grown up Rust Monster, but no. This entry goes on to say that the idea that the Rust Dragon is from the Rust Monster is simply the “ravings of deranged lunatics.” This injustice stands for three long years until Dragon #346 (August 2006) and the article Ecology of the Rust Monster is released and in it, they finally admit that there is probably some connection. The entire article takes a new look at the Rust Monster and is a great read that provides an interesting spin on how the Rust Monster rusts away metal. Instead of using bacteria to destroy metal, a Rust Monster uses its paddle tail to breath in lots of carbon dioxide where it’s body then turns that into pure oxygen. Across its feather-like tentacles and all over its body are tiny little nodules that the Rust Monster can use to eject pure oxygen, along with some pseudo-magic, to immediately oxidize and destroy metals, which explains how the Rust Monster can destroy gold, silver, and other non-ferrous metals. Apart from their new explanation about the Rust Monster’s abilities, we also get information about how the Rust Monster has several different origin stories, with the widely spread one being that they were created by a god who was scared of technology. They created the Rust Monster as a response to the threat of greater technologies, and all that remains of their realm is a rusty wasteland as these cute little monsters destroyed absolutely everything. There’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere, but we can’t stop to think about that as the article mentions two other important pieces of information. The first being that there are different versions of the Rust Monster that reside in different environments, from the shaggy, blue Frostfell Rust Monster that destroys metal by super blasting it with cold and freezing it so it shatters, to the khaki-hued Waste Rust Monsters that turns metal into sand. These different variations of the Rust Monsters can be found all over, each giving the Rust Monsters different ways of destroying your favorite sword. The second piece of information worth talking about is their relationship to dragons and Rust Dragons in particular. Now you might be groaning for our strange obsession with dragons, but hear us out. There is a small section that briefly mentions that the Rust Monsters might be attracted to the metallic dragons due to their affinity to specific metals. This has led to Rust Monsters, maybe, messing around with some of the metallic dragon eggs, either by tainting the egg itself and transforming it into a Rust Dragon or that the Rust Monster eats the contents of the egg itself, mistaking its metallic egg for metal to be feasted on, transforming them into a Rust Dragon. This is a fascinating look at how magical creatures could interact with each other, though we vastly prefer 2e’s version of events where they spun themselves a comfy metal cocoon and emerged as a pretty insect-dragon with cute little insect wings.
Level 6 Skirmisher Medium Natural Beast / XP 250 Initiative +10 / Senses Perception +5; low-light vision HP 66; Bloodied 33 AC 20; Fortitude 16, Reflex 21, ** Will** 17 Speed 8 Bite (standard; at will) +11 vs. AC; 1d10+5 damage, and if the target is wearing heavy armor, the armor is rusting until the end of the encounter. While the armor is rusting, the target takes a cumulative -1 penalty to AC, to a maximum penalty of -5. Dissolve Metal (standard; encounter) Reliable. Targets a creature wearing or wielding a rusting magic item of 10th level or lower or any non-magic rusting item; +9 vs. Reflex; the rusting item is destroyed. Rusting Defense (when the rust monster is hit by a weapon attack; at will) The weapon used in the triggering attack is rusting until the end of the encounter. While the weapon is rusting, the target takes a cumulative -1 penalty to damage rolls on attacks that use the weapon, to a maximum penalty of -5. Residuum Recovery A rust monster consumes any items it destroys. The residuum from any magic items the monster has destroyed can be retrieved from its stomach. The residuum is worth the market value of the item (not one-fifth the value). Alignment Unaligned / Languages - Str 8 (+2) Dex 20 (+8) Wis 15 (+5) Con 10 (+3) Int 2 (-1) Cha 12 (+4)
Unfortunately for the fan-favorite Rust Monster, it is forced to wait 2 long years before it arrives in 4e with the release of the Monster Manual 2 (2009). Ok, so the Rust Monster may not be a fan favorite, but it’s probably a favorite of DM’s everywhere, that’s for sure. We usually complain that the 4th edition provides little to no information about the monster we look at, but it’s the exact opposite for our favorite monster, Rusty. We are introduced to not only the Rust Monster but a Young Rust Monster Swarm and the magic loving Dweomer’s Eater. We still won’t forgive them for putting the Rust Monster in the second book of monsters, but it’s a start. The Rust Monster’s abilities get new fancy names in 4th edition, but they remain the same in what they do. The Rust Monster still isn’t the smartest creature you’ll run into, but it remains one of the hungriest. When encountered, it will immediately head towards the party member wearing and or wielding the most metal, that it can see. See!? Now, Rust Monsters can see your metal, which means no layering dung on you in a desperate attempt to not be smelled. Now, when it sees all that beautiful metal, which is typically worn by you, Mister Fighter, and it begins to charge you down, how should you respond? If you’ve never run into one of these creatures before, you’ll probably do what you do best… swing your big old sword at it until it dies or you die. By now we all know what happens. Hit Rusty or get hit by Rusty and your fancy metal starts to rust. The difference now is that the game has become a kinder, gentler game, which is a little sad. Your magical stuff no longer immediately rusts into a small snack for the Rust Monster to feast upon. It will continue to rust over the length of the encounter and it is possible that it too will become a pile of rust, but losing it immediately on a failed save is no more. While its horrifying to watch your Mace of Disruption slowly disintegrate before your eyes throughout an encounter, it’s better than watching it dissolve in your hands in 6 seconds. In fact, their Dissolve Metal attack only works on equipment that can rust as the statblock specifies “…wearing or wielding a rusting magic item… non-magic rusting item…”. This means if you make a sword completely out of silver for those werewolves, it’ll be fine, at least how we are reading it. Except there’s a small hang up to that, as their defensive ability Rusting Defense has no text about the weapon being able to rust, it simply states that any weapons hitting it take a penalty the more the Rust Monster are struck as the weapon ‘rusts’. At the end of the encounter, your weapon stops rusting. Of course, what happens if you had used a Mace of Disruption and it died during this knockdown fight with the Rust Monster? That brings us to the biggest change for the Rust Monster, more specifically its Residuum Recovery ability. Unlike many creature abilities, this one doesn’t provide any benefit for the creature, but it provides the player with a massive benefit. When Rusty eats the pile of rust that was once your amazing mace of death, not surprisingly it ends up in its stomach. Now, after eating its fill of metal, the Rust Monster will scurry off, retreating to digest its meal, and we bet most likely he’ll take a nap. Now, we aren’t suggesting that you track down and kill this poor little guy with extreme prejudice, but if you do, you have a chance of saving your precious items. By slicing the Rust Monster open, you can cut open its stomach, and scoop out the ‘residuum’ that was once your all-powerful weapon and you have a chance to ‘rebuild’ it. 4th edition provides a very handy way of doing so with the Create Magic Item feat which will allow you to recreate the lost item from the residuum. The text of the Rust Monster strongly suggests that the DM allows the player to be able to recover their lost items. It goes on to say that you can make the player suffer for a bit by making them use a plain old weapon before they find the time or person to recreate the item. A newer DM probably thinks this is a great idea, but grognards might start screaming bullshit upon reading this. This, while annoying, is not quite the same awfulness of past editions and just makes the Rust Monster an annoyance and not that dangerous. We are also introduced to the Young Rust Monster Swarm and Dweomer Eater. The swarm is an interesting creature, when you think of a swarm, you think about a large number of creatures attacking as one. Since Rust Monsters only have 1 to 2 young, the question is how do you find that many children? Do they all go to the same high school and once they hit those teenage years become an unruly pack of angry and disillusioned Rust Monsters? No matter how it happens, it isn’t fun for the poor group that runs into the swarm. Look no further than its primary attack, Swarm of Teeth to understand just how deadly the swarm is. The name alone sounds horrible, and if you happen to be wearing heavy armor, your day truly is ruined. We should point out, no equipment can be destroyed by the swarm, you simply take a penalty until the end of the encounter. Next up is the Dweomer Eater, which is every sentient magic item's worst nightmare. Not only do they love the taste of metal, but their favorite side dish is arcane energy. Its Magic Consumption defensive ability sucks the magic out of a weapon when you strike at it, of course you can sit back and relax because it comes back by the end of the encounter. If the Dweomer Eater can turn your item to rust and devour it, repeat the previous steps of murdering it in cold blood, dissecting it, and then scooping out your residuum. At this point, it's worth pointing out that when you sold stuff in 4e, you’d get about one-fifth the value of the item, not so with this residuum as you can sell this magical rust for its full market value. You can go up to a merchant with rust in hand, give a small shrug and they’ll pay you for the total amount of that Mace of Disruption you lost. You can then turn around and spend that exact amount the merchant gave you and buy a brand new Mace of Disruption free of all rust, it’s like you never lost your mace at all… which… is… let’s move on to a different topic! Dragons! Oh wait, there are two Draconomicons (2008/2009) in 4e and neither one has information on the Rust Dragon? Sigh. We regret to inform you that the Rust Dragon has been removed, and every baby Rust Monster’s dreams of metamorphosing into a fearsome dragon is just rust in the wind. The last thing we should mention about the Rust Monster doesn’t actually have to do with the Rust Monster directly. There is a section at the end of the Rust Monster’s stat blocks called “A Guide to Using Rust Monsters” that has some good pointers in there but also creates a very ‘safe’ atmosphere. The good pointers are that if you include a Rust Monster, come up with ways for the adventurers to carry on their adventuring day, otherwise, the players will feel like they must end the action and return to town to buy new weapons. This could be by providing less optimal equipment early on in the dungeon that the PCs could use or letting them fashion makeshift weapons out of what they can find. It makes sense and is important for DMs to think about. One of the problems it creates, while not necessarily a problem of the game itself, is that this turns the Rust Monster into a very ‘safe’ encounter. There is no risk of losing your equipment, really its more of an annoyance than anything else, and the players, if they want their stuff back must simply go to town, sell some rust and get all their equipment back. All it takes is time not playing the game for them to do this. While we understand this was done because of the importance of the magic item treadmill in 4e, which was also present in the previous editions, the Rust Monster stops being the threat it once was and just becomes annoying.
Medium monstrosity, unaligned Armor Class 14 (natural armor) Hit Points 27 (5d8+5) Speed 40 ft. STR 13 (+1) | DEX 12 (+1) | CON 13 (+1 ) | INT 2 (-4) | WIS 13 (+1) | CHA 6 (-2) Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11 Languages - Challenge 1/2 (100 XP) Iron Scent. The Rust Monster can pinpoint, by scent, the location of ferrous metal within 30 feet of it. Rust Metal. Any non magical weapon made of metal that hits the rust monster corrodes. After dealing damage, the weapon take a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to damage rolls. If its penalty drops to -5, the weapon is destroyed. Non magical ammunition made of metal that hits the rust monster is destroyed after dealing damage. Bite.Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage. Antennae. The rust monster corrodes a non magical ferrous metal object it can see within 5 feet of it. If the object isn’t being worn or carried, the touch destroys a 1 foot cube of it. If the object is being worn or carried by a creature, the creature can make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw to avoid the rust monster’s touch. If the object touched is either mental armor or a metal shield being worn or carried, it takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers. Armor reduced to an AC of 10 or a shield that drops to a +0 bonus is destroyed. If the object touched is a held metal weapon, it rusts as described in the Rust Metal trait.
The Rust Monster is introduced for 5th edition in the Monster Manual (2014) and it is nerfed quite a bit. 5th edition strips away everything that makes them a creature worth fearing, causing grown goliaths to weep like children when their favorite toy is taken away. It now has a mediocre Armor Class, hit points that a 2nd level character could wipe out in a few turns, and the same CR as a giant goat. All this plus the fact that the picture of the Rust Monster is worse than the previous editions, we have to wonder… where was the love for the Rust Monster? The most damaging blow to the Rust Monster’s greatness involves its Rust Metal ability. No longer does this ability have any effect on magic items. That’s like taking away a dragon’s breath weapon attack or saying that griffons have wings but can’t fly. While you could easily strip the Rust Monster of its ability to destroy magic items and claim it is for game balance as magic items are so rare in 5e, that doesn’t explain the rest of the stat block, nor the Zorbo in Tomb of Annihilation (2017) who can destroy magic items. If you attack with your non-magical weapon, you get five hits in with it before it is destroyed completely, which probably isn’t going to happen as four average attacks with a shortsword (d6) with just a +3 modifier will end up with you dealing 25 points of damage to the Rust Monster, and because you are an adventuring party of 4, you don’t even have to hit that many times. This just means that your weapon will, instead of being destroyed, just have a permanent penalty to it until you toss it away and buy a new one, or steal the dead goblin’s shortsword. We’d say that this is more of an annoyance than anything else. Of course, weapons aren’t the only things that a Rust Monster is interested in as armor can be made of metal too. When metal is struck by the Rust Monster, you get a chance to avoid the equipment getting touched by the Rust Monster that is pretty easy to make. If you have no modifier to your Dexterity, there is a 50% chance you won’t get touched by the Rust Monster, and then the Rust Monster’s turn is over and then you wail on it and it dies. If you are unlucky and your armor gets touched, it takes a minus to the AC bonus it provides and is only destroyed if it is reduced to a bonus of 0. Shields would take two turns to destroy completely while most armor would take anywhere from 3 to 8 turns to destroy, though again… it’ll pry take a lot longer as it is such a low DC to succeed. Looking at the lore for the Rust Monster, we are disappointed that there is no mention of its rightful place as the larva stage of a Rust Dragon, but at this point we weren’t holding our breath. The lore stays pretty much the same, though it does specify the Rust Monster is only interested in ferrous metals, which includes mithral or adamantine, but they no longer can eat silver, gold, and other metals. The Rust Monster has the Iron Scent ability which allows it to smell metal, which is better than in 4th edition at least, but its range is reduced from 90 feet to a mere 30 feet. Rust Monsters are still inoffensive, even if they aren't described as such anymore, and aren’t likely to attack you unless it smells some delicious ferrous metal on you. If you treat a Rust Monster with love and respect, it could become a pet or a companion. That does mean that if your druid won’t let you kill Rusty for slightly damaging a random weapon you found lying around on the ground, the druid will have to keep a constant eye on it and ensure it doesn’t eat the plate-clad paladin while they are napping. The Rust Monster was created from a random toy and its legacy had a lasting impact on every character that would run into it. Adventurers would flee in fear from it and, while it was incredibly weak, created an interesting challenge that a party had to face with very real consequences for not planning properly. Throughout the editions, the Rust Monster was slowly pulled back until the main ability that makes it fearsome ends up being useless. By 5th edition, only low-level characters need to be careful if they encounter one as they probably don’t have magical items yet. But then again, losing your longsword at level 2 isn’t that big of a deal. With the way the gold economy works, what else do you have to spend your money on?
Sector Sixteen is gross. And I’m not being affectionate here, like “Oh, Sixteen is so gross, haha”. It’s disgusting, both physically and otherwise. Seventeen takes the very idea of filth as an object of careful consideration and respect. Sixteen seems to be sprinting headlong toward an early death by infection as quickly as humanly possible. There have been a few times where Wellspring City has broken out in armed conflict, inside itself. The Intersectional Wars. Only two of them, in the span of about six hundred years, because even if you hate your neighbors with a blind passion, it’s still a city and all the parts still fundamentally need one another. That and the Wellwardens tend to put a quick stop to any large-stale infighting with the flick of an indestructible wrist. Both times, Sixteen was destroyed almost immediately, by joint assault led from either Three or Twenty. Why? Because Twenty is the city’s religious district, and Three is home to the prison, the courthouse, and the headquarters of the Watch. Once the Sector Lords abandoned their duties in favor of bloodshed and a total dissolution of civil safety, Three and Twenty wasted no time in falling upon Sixteen like a shining hammer of crystalline justice. The sectors of Law and Purity finally had their chance to wipe their hated foe straight off the map - the sector of Abandon. They’d tried education and rehabilitation for decades, and elected the time had come for the helping hand to form a fist instead. And it worked. Why wouldn’t it? Three had all the muscle, Twenty had the most stirring speeches - Sixteen had no allies and no chance. It burned to the ground, along with all its debasement and sin. Twice. And Sixteen is still here. There’s a lesson in this, kids, and it’s one that people like Three and Twenty have a hard time getting to grips with. You can kill sinners. It’s easy. Shoot them in the face, cut their heads off, hang them, tear the flesh from their bones, burn them at the stake. Not even a problem. You can do it all day if you’re motivated enough - all it takes is some earplugs, an apron, something sharp, and a can-do spirit. You cannot, however, kill sin. It is always going to be there. You can whip yourself, fast, pray, feed the hungry, heal the sick, read a thousand books and climb a hundred mountains, but there is always going to be a part of you that wants something you know you’re not supposed to have. You might not act on it, but you’re still going to want it. Pretending otherwise is an exercise in puritanical foolishness that only results in self-loathing and insanity. If you want to cauterize sin once and for all, the last person on the pyre is going to have to be you. They tried burning Sector Sixteen to the ground, but like a weed with deep roots, it just grew back, right out of the ashes. And the place shows all its scars, with a kind of devilish pride. There isn’t much order to the place. There’s still piles of charred rubble in some parts, left as a kind of lazy monument to the things the district’s been through. All the cheap neon lights and billboards shine on crumbling stone, rotten foundations, and the toothy grins of all the good ghouls who came here for a particular brand of fun. It’s festive here, sure, in a way. But it doesn’t have that homey, clannish charm that Thirteen has. There’s something oily about it - a grease released from all the curdled shame of the people losing themselves here. This is where I found Tennima, a long time ago. I used to find a lot of kids here. As you can probably imagine, children do not belong in Sector Sixteen. But that doesn’t stop them from showing up. I’ve broken a lot of bones in these alleys. And only a few of them were mine. My stride widens as I work my way through the sweaty multicolored lights and past many dark doorsteps. I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to. A lot of bad memories. Hell, it’s half past noon and I’m being solicited left and right. And that’s not really unusual. Slabs have a hard time finding companionship. They’re enormous and oftentimes mentally unstable - trying to find physical affection when you’re a frothing mountain of angry muscle is about as easy as finding an ice cube in a smelter. And of course, for a lot of them, that just makes them angrier. The uh… hardworking men and women here charge slabs extra, for liability purposes, but they will take them as customers, unlike most everywhere else. And both parties know it. There are a lot of very big people in these crowds. “Hey there, big boy. You look like you could use some company.” “Why don’t you come this way and party with us, baby?” “I’m reinforced. I can take a lot.” A few of them approach me and take me by the elbow, trying to lead me off into one den or another. I don’t look any of them in the face, and keep walking. They don’t have a hope in the world of stopping me, either physically or mentally, and they realize that fast and break off to go hover around someone else. It’s not that I’m disinterested in sex, specifically. Sex is a perfectly fine way to spend an afternoon, I guess. I’m just disinterested in most things, and one of those things is copulating with… these fine people. One - I can’t afford it. Two - half these receptive men and women are more augmented than I am (they have a pretty rough job, after all), and I prefer a more organic experience. Three… well. I like a bit of emotional involvement. Call me a romantic. It takes me a bit to get to the far eastern sections of Sixteen, and every step feels like it’s sunk in sticky oil. The deadliest sector in the city is Three, bar none - that’s where they literally kill people, after all. But Sixteen is infinitely more dangerous. Three will at least run you through a paperwork mill and tell you that they’re killing you before they do it. Sixteen doesn’t extend that kind of courtesy, and it won’t kill you all at once. You’ll die slow. You’ll die of desperation. Of loneliness. Of anhedonia, bankruptcy, and overdose. And by the time the serpent has coiled around you and sunk its fangs into your neck, you’ll be asking for it. Seventeen does come after Sixteen, after all. And speaking of pain and death… I see a familiar face off to the left of the street. A dumpy, pear-shaped body awkwardly mashed into a cheap purple plastic suit, with thinning hair and an amount of sweat that only comes with years of high-test doses of thump. He’s a businessman, after all. Got to stay awake. He sees me back, over the tops of dozens of heads. Leaning against the side of a flesh shop like he owns it, his eyes go wide, for just a second. I don’t blame him, considering the things I said to him the last time we saw one another. He doesn’t move, though. Doesn’t run or try to hide behind anything. There are a few heavy men standing near him, the kind you pay to intimidate people like me. Ten years ago, he couldn’t afford this kind of muscle. If he had, I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I did. I guess he learned some lessons and recouped from the loss. Ten years is a long time, after all. I stop walking, smack in the middle of the street. A few people crash into my back and mutter expletives at me. I can’t even hear them. There’s this rushing sound in my ears, like a waterfall, blocking everything out. My eyes won’t move from this old acquaintance of mine. The instant I stop, staring at him, he comes off the building, leans on his shiny black cane, and beckons one of his goons. They exchange a few words. He doesn’t take his eyes off me the entire time. The four or five slab bodyguards come to a kind of pack animal attention, tipped off that there’s a threat nearby. They join their boss in trying to stare me down. I carve a path directly through the crowd over to him, neon shadows and pedestrian bodies flowing all around me. It’s like walking through a bad dream. My heart won’t stay put. And my legs are acting with a will of their own. I’m a stray bolt being drawn in by a magnet. Out of the crowd and in the mouth of the alley, I’m about twenty feet from him. If I get any closer, there’ll be a fight. And we wouldn’t want that. It’s darker here, in the arms of the buildings. Tougher for anyone behind me to see what’s going on in the shadows. He speaks first. He’s the kind of guy that’ll do that - head his competitors off as soon as possible. There’s a voice like chemical wind from under the door of a morgue. “So. The Beast emerges from his hibernation and walks among us once more. You catch me by surprise, Featherlight. I didn’t think I’d see you around here anytime soon.” His arms are folded over his flabby chest in a show of confidence, but his sweat and juddering vitae tell a different story. I don’t say anything for a moment. I shake my head and laugh quietly. I can’t help it. Some people are just naturally funny. I reply, “I find myself confused, Strake.” He smiles back at me. “Oh? And why’s that, pray tell?” I scratch my head bemusedly. “Because the last time we saw each other, I snapped both your femurs, traumatically confiscated your testicles, and explained in no uncertain terms that if I ever saw you in Sector Sixteen again, I’d not only break every other bone in your body, but I’d also make you a fancy new necktie out of your own unraveled larynx. I was very clear. You were screaming very loudly at the time, but I was pretty sure you got the message. And yet, here you stand. Very impressive, by the way. I realize your knees were probably replaced a while ago, but has medical science progressed to the point that they make prosthetic balls now too? I’m dying to know, Strake. Because we established a while ago that you’re not mature enough to use them responsibly, so, if that’s the case, I’m going to have to take the new pair as well. You naughty boy.” I swear I hear one his henchmen stifle a snicker behind me. Strake’s smile evaporates. Bad memories will suck all the cheer right out of a guy, and for Strake, I’m eight hundred pounds of things he’d rather not remember. He replies around his scowl, “Yeah, well, we all make promises we can’t keep sometimes, don’t we. I bought a cane. I get around just fine. ‘Cause some of us have persistence, Featherlight. I pushed through it and now I’m bigger than I’ve ever been. I survived you. I buy my own bullies now, see? And you’re just another sad gutter slab tryna wreck up hardworking businessmen for no reason other than sanctimonious pettiness. I pity you, frankly. A miserable animal unfit to live amongst us civilized folk.” I grin down at him. “Whatever helps you sleep at night, Strake. I’m so goddamn glad to see you again, you adorable little goblin. Really, I couldn’t be happier. I fucking love hurting you. Maybe that’s bad of me. You know what, no - it definitely is. But honestly?” My arms shrug wide, and my eyes gleam emerald and bright. “If being an animal means I get to feel your putrid fucking carcass give way under my hands all over again, then I’m just not cut out to be human.” I’ll give the cretin a bit of credit - he’s still got a brave face on. But his vitae looks like it’s in the middle of a hurricane, and I see him grip his cane with both hands to stop them from shaking. He remembers what it felt like. He remembers every single second he and I spent together that night, and I’m overjoyed to see it. Because I remember, too. He takes a single step back. Just one. And for now, that’s all I need in order to be the happiest man in the world. His goons, however, all take a step forward. “You can’t do shit, Featherlight. You live on thin ice. I’m a citizen, and you’re a fucking mutant. Put a goddamn finger on me in a place like this and the Watch will be all over your ass like scumbirds on a dead cat. Why don’t you fuck off back into the sewer you crawled out of, huh? Leave the daylight to us normal folk.” All I can do is smile and nod. “Hmm. I admit it, Strake, you’ve got me there. But I’ll say this much - you bet all your chips on the law’s protection last time, too. And as I recall, they found themselves very distracted while I made you into none of the man that you used to be. I wonder if you’re a valuable enough citizen now to get them to come to your defense. I guess we’ll find out.” I turn my back on him, grinning from ear to ear, and start back down the street. Behind me, he calls, “I know where you live, you fucking freak!” My hand waves back at him dismissively. “You’ve known the entire time, Strake. Come and visit for once. I’d save me the effort of having to track you down.” I think he says something else, just so he can say he got the last word, but by then I’m far enough in the crowd that I can’t hear him. You know, it occurs to me that it might be an incredibly poor judgment call to antagonize this many people that all know my exact address. I’m stacking up potential enemies like firewood. Before long I’m not gonna be able to leave my house without getting painted with an entire rainbow of crosshairs. And I don’t really fucking care. Once you’ve been shot a few dozen times it kind of loses its menace. I’ve got way too much to do lately to make Strake a priority. Sadly, the Sector Sixteen Watch precinct probably feels the same way, and I’m not about to ping my only Watch contact to go across jurisdictional lines to harass some pervert they’ve never heard of. I wonder whether I should tell Tennima that Strake is still kicking around. The only reason I know him at all is because of her, through no fault of her own. Ten years ago I tore his balls off and shattered his legs on her behalf, but that was ten years ago. She’s an adult now, and smart enough to make toys that are way scarier than I could ever be. She might want to kill him herself. She alone has the right. And she could do it without even lifting a finger. Do I want to be a part of that? Do I want that for her? Is that even the decision she’d make, and is it even up to me to get involved? She knows what I did and why, but would it help anything to tell her that he’s still around? Sigh. It doesn’t matter. She’s right, she isn’t a child anymore, even if it’s hard for me to see her as anything else. She’s a grown woman. And withholding this wouldn’t be respectful of me. … But I’ll call her later. It’s not gonna hurt her to be in the dark a little while longer, and I’ve got shit to do. I should probably make it clear, here, that I’ve never actually killed anyone before. Not as far as I’m aware, at least. I might have hinted that I have, a couple of times throughout this ripping narrative, but that was just me being colorful. The truth is that the gods teamed up with dark science to give skull-squishing strength and body mass to a complete and utter softie. One time when I was a kid my mom stepped on a slug and I fucking cried. Before all of… this happened to me, I thought I wanted to work my way out of Nineteen and become a doctor, of all things. It’s amazing, the things you’ll think as a kid, before you realize you’re too poor to pay life’s protection money, and then it shows up on your front door and uses brass knuckles and a lead pipe to teach you that you’re not the one calling the shots around here. Dreams are for people with money. The rest of us get to spit out our teeth for sixty years. … What was I saying? Oh yeah. Never killed anyone. It wouldn’t be hard or anything, people are super killable. I just don’t have it in me. I couldn’t even kill Strake, and believe me, I wanted to kill him even more than I wanted my mother to get better. And I fucking loved my mom. I’ve hurt people, sure, no question. Hell, I’ve torn bits off people. Important bits, too. I’ve punched, kicked, headbutted and bitten my way through more than a few scraps in my time, and I’d be lying to you if I said there wasn’t a small part of me that’s enjoyed it every time. But that’s not who I am. And it’s not who I want to be. … That said, I really, really want to kill Strake. I can’t just let him exist as he is. If that sack of shit is back to doing what he used to do, some kids are going to be hurt. In ways that don’t ever heal. I figure if I can prevent that by breaking him into teeny tiny pieces, it’ll be worth the permanent stain on my morality. I can’t be the only one that wants him dead, right? Maybe I’ll see if anyone’s put a hit out on him. I’m not an assassin, because I’d be terrible at it and the risks aren’t worth it, but in this case, I’m sorely tempted to make the exception of a lifetime. Especially if the money’s good enough. I’m supposed to be some kind of mercenary or something, aren’t I? I’d give his evil little head to the first person that handed me a thousand-credit chip for it. Or at least I might. I should have gotten my conscience removed when I had the chance. After more grimy blocks than I can count and avoiding several thousand suspicious-looking puddles, I come to the far end of the sector. The Wall, dark and impassive as it ever is, looms high above me and everything else, barely even reflecting sunlight. And lying in its shadow, just away from the edge of the sector platform, is the bar I’ve come to visit. This is away from the high-energy bustle of Sixteen proper, so it’s quieter, and a little less… venereal. Even a place as hot and gross as Sixteen has its calm spots, because eventually the thump wears off and people have to take their antibiotics and sleep. The place doesn’t actually look that bad, on the outside. Relatively clean brick facade, some wrought iron fencing, nestled to one side of an open backstreet square that seems like it still hasn’t woken up even though it’s the early afternoon. I climb up the rusty plate steps and, yep, fancy filigree sign says The Scripted Serpent. Door’s even made of wood - very classy. It doesn’t match it surroundings at all - if you told me this establishment got transplanted here from Ten or Twelve I’d be inclined to believe you. I walk in. Inside, it’s somehow smaller than I expected it to be. Or maybe it just feels that way. There’s a ludicrously well-polished middle-length bar taking up the far wall, with a clean-looking mustachioed fellow in a white shirt at the helm, smoking a shiny pipe and making drinks. Dim and smoky, as befitting any den of booze and iniquity, but in a way that makes the room seem cozy rather than nefarious. High ceiling, vaulted with crossbeams. Everything’s done in expensive wood and stone rather than metal and plastic. Whoever built this place wasn’t afraid of shelling out. It’s quiet. And nice. Honestly, if I had money and didn’t have to walk through the entirety of Sector Sixteen to get here, I’d like to hang out in here sometime. Not many people at this time of day. One or two with their bellies to the bar, a scattered few at the booths and tables, including a group of three old men smoking cigars and playing cards. But I see one guy over by the window. Only one in here wearing a hat. Dressed like one of those Hot Plains cattle ranchers. The bartender and a couple of the less engaged patrons fix me with looks. This kind of seems like one of those places where every customer is a regular, and I’m highly irregular. Do I want a drink? Yeah fuck it, I want a drink. Who knows, I could be dead tomorrow. And I’ll feel like an idiot if I die with anything left in my bank account. I approach the bar but don’t sit down. The drinks drone hovers toward me like an automech on a mission. “What can I get for you, sir?” I stifle a snort. Sir. What a weird thing to call me. “I’m on the hunt for a beer, if there’s beer.” “There is beer.” He reaches over the bar to hand me - get this - a list. “We just got in a few barrels of fresh north-Krathian frostbock, if you’re in the mood for something sturdy. So fresh we haven’t gotten it on the menu yet, actually. You’ll find the rest there. More than thirty options.” I think I might be in the wrong kind of establishment. I just hold the menu back at him without looking at it. “Oh boy. Uh. As it happens, I’m poor as dirt, so I’ll just have to go with whatever sludge you’ve got left at the bottom of your vatbeer tank.” He smirks, looking down at the glass he’s polishing. “The owner refuses to let vatbeer cross his doorstep. Check the prices, sir, you might be pleasantly surprised.” I blink once, and open the menu. I have no idea what this guy’s driving at, there’s no way I’ll be able to afford anything other than the sextuple-filtered wheatpiss anyway- Oh. I look back up at him, brow furrowed and deeply confused. “Is this entire list a typo?” “Nope. No mistake. That’s what our beer costs.” My eyes go back down to the menu, then back up at him again in total bewilderment. “How? Unless this piece of paper is more full of fabricated bullshit than the average issue of the Herald.” The guy just keeps smiling and cleaning contentedly. “You be the judge. Pick one and find out.” Well now I’m just indignant. There’s no way they could be selling actual, real, unadulterated imported beer at these prices and still be in business. People like me aren’t allowed to afford drink this good, it’s the fourth law of econodynamics. “Alright then, champ, you’re on. I’ll have a tank of the hollowhunter’s ale.” He holds up the slab-sized tankard he’s been polishing, inspecting it for flaws. “Good choice, sir. Just a moment.” He turns around to address a row of taps set into the back wall. When fresh and properly made, hollowhunter’s ale is like the fun version of drinking razor blades and pine needles mixed with acetone. Because your average hollowhunter is about nine inches from death at any given moment and they don’t have time to waste on pathetic normal peoples’ beer. The stuff is known the world over, and selling it is how the hollowhunters are able to afford all their armored vehicles and explosives. The copycat imitation variety doesn’t taste like the relief of having survived one more day without having your spine and kidneys torn out with one pull of an undead hand - it just tastes like battery acid and sadness. You can taste the suicidal bravery in the real stuff, and your average human coward just can’t replicate it. The barkeep hands me the glass stein, with both hands. Strong arms. Guy doesn’t wobble, or spill a drop. I accept it from him and hold it up for inspection against the light. The brew is the color of a ruby sunset over a field of ripening wheat. Layer of fine white bubbles on top, like snow. Looks like the stuff I’ve had before. Hard to forget a beer that looks like liquid jewelry. I take a sip. Have you ever been exhilarated? Actually, genuinely flush with the pure, unbridled and electric wonder of being alive? The kind of seismic joy that only comes from giving Death himself a smooch on the cheek and scampering away before he can catch you? Have you walked through a living nightmare and emerged on the other side bleeding and broken, but suddenly aware of how beautiful grass can be when the sunlight strikes the dewdrops just right? That’s what this stuff tastes like. It tastes like snatching your own life out of the claws of something that eats entire forests as an aperitif. This is the beverage equivalent of shedding a single gasping, breathless tear in utter disbelief at the fact that your heart is somehow still beating, even though the flesh all around it is nothing but bloody bruises. Smiling like he just pulled the greatest trick of all time, the bartender plunks the chip reader down on the bar top. “That’ll be four hundred credits.” I ignore him and take another luxurious pull, because life’s too short to do anything other than love what you have. A sigh leaves my lungs like misty wind fleeing the summer sun. Then I (carefully) set the glass of liquid art on the bar, pull out my wallet and pay, shaking my head. “I don’t get it, man. This stuff costs three times what you’re charging. Is there a trick, here? Do you own my house now, or something?” He just shrugs, and grabs another glass to polish. I think bartenders have a condition that causes their brainstem to liquefy if their hands aren’t in contact with glass and a rag at all times. “I just pour ‘em, sir. Somehow the bossman gets away with it, but I’ll be damned if I know how. All I know is that I keep getting my paychecks and the lights haven’t ever gone out.” I retrieve the holy vessel and take another precious taste. “Well… the next time you see him, tell him he’s got a new favorite customer. I’ll keep coming back as long as you keep giving this stuff away.” He nods happily. “I’ll let him know. Enjoy.” And the giver of mighty gifts flutters away on invisible wings, to bless another undeserving soul. Alright. Fun’s over. Business time. I turn about and cross the room over to the booth where my not-man is sitting. Nobody pays me any mind as I approach, and neither does he. It? I’m not sure what the designators are, here. I’ll go with “he” because he looks like one. He just keeps his eyes out the window, looking at… I dunno, the world, I guess. He doesn’t even look at me when I sit down right across from him. At a passing glance, there isn’t anything unusual about this guy. He just looks like an older fellow that’s worked under the sun his whole life. Bronzed skin, wrinkles. Wearing his rancher’s outfit. He could just be some cowboy in from delivering a shipment of beef for the Inner Circle to enjoy. But now that I’m up close… there’s definitely something off. His skin seems unusually thin. The light is hitting it wrong - it looks like papier-mache, or plaster. With the sun at this angle, I should be able to see some hair, but his cheeks are completely smooth, in the way you see on a healed burn victim. And the eyes. They’re too… perfect. Too glossy. Can’t see a single spot, no striations in the iris, not a single vein. They look like doll’s eyes, not ones grown inside a real human skull. There’s also the fact that he has no vitae at all. Nothing, not a single wisp or bubble or ray of color. In biomantic terms, this guy is indistinguishable from a toaster or a washing machine. That absence makes him look more and more like an unusually lifelike mannequin the longer my eyes are on him. My brain’s accustomed to the human form always being in the company of its swirling, colored vitae. It’s not here, and the contradiction is making my skin crawl. He doesn’t move or say anything or react to me in any way. So I guess I’ll start. “Do you know why I’m here?” I predicted it. The logical, thinking part of my brain knew that it had to happen at some point. Otherwise, how could this thing have gotten here? But when it moves, when it turns its head away from the window to look at me, I nearly jump out of my fucking skin. Things without vitae aren’t supposed to fucking move unless they also have an engine or an internal reactor. The sight of it, right in front of me, makes my spine want to slither away to a place where creepy shit like this doesn’t happen. Its eyes are blue, and are not made of flesh. No water or salt or protein. Just glass. “No. Why are you here?” My skin is spiders. Its voice is almost perfect. Almost. Honestly, if I weren’t scrutinizing, I probably wouldn’t even notice. But the lip movements only mostly match the words that came out of that hole. And there’s this tonal incorrectness - a lack of richness, of bass. It sounds very slightly like a lesser-quality recording of a middle-aged man’s voice. Dry, papery, without any impact or lung behind it. And the thing doesn’t move. Not even a little. A human person trying as hard as they can to be motionless still isn’t - you can’t help the barely-perceptible bob of the head as the heart pumps blood through the chest and neck, you can’t prevent the gradual rise and fall of the chest. Or not for very long, at least. This thing is genuinely, absolutely still, in the way that only an inanimate object can manage. I want to get this over with. At least an automech has decency enough to look nothing like the humans they get their shape from. Every part of me is convinced this thing shouldn’t exist - my sympathetic nervous system is going into overdrive just from the sheer number of contradictory sensory inputs. I don’t know whether to tear its head off or run screaming out of the building. A layer of mental concrete pours over my nerves before I reply, “I’m looking for the way to the Library.” Its tilts its head to one side, face still neutral. “Why?” I frown. “Because I want to learn stuff. I’ve heard there’s a lot of good books in the Library. If your boss is okay with me paying a visit, that is.” “What do you want to learn about?” I had no idea I was signing up for an interview when I walked in here. But I guess if I was the Librarian I’d be pretty careful too. I pan my eyes around the room before saying a very dirty and controversial word. “Magic.” The unusually large doll nods, very slightly. “You are an arcanist.” It says this without any kind of emotion at all. It’s not a question, or an accusation. Just the statement of a fact, with a machine’s confidence. I’m not sure if it guessed or if it somehow knows things from out of thin air. I don’t know. I’m just along for the fucking ride, here. “... Yeah. Is that a… problem?” “No. Not intrinsically. The arcanist seeks knowledge of magic. The river flows to the sea. This has happened for many thousands of years. What you seek is power, as knowledge sublimates into power in the mage’s hand. And you seek it in full awareness of the risks. Plainly, the conflux of fate has made you incredibly strong of body, yet you wish for more. Why?” I really cannot express in succinct words how goddamn unnerving it is to listen to this thing talk. It’s so, so close to being human, but just off the mark. And worse, now it’s trying to get personal with me. “Why do I want power?” “Yes.” “Is that something you need to know?” “Yes.” “... Why?” It laces its fingers together on the table. The motion makes a sound like paper folders sliding over one another. “Because to the Librarian and to many others, knowledge is also a currency. Sharing it with you is akin to an investment. And within this dynamic, bad investments can become catastrophic. So explain yourself. Or leave.” Heh. Not the first time I’ve ever had to defend my life. Thankfully, I don’t even have to lie. “Some bad things might happen to some good people soon. Some people that I know. The stronger I am, the better I can help them. And the more likely it is that I can catch those bad people, to stop them from hurting anyone else.” The homunculus doesn’t move. “You seek power for altruistic reasons only? To defend the weak from evil?” I snort. “No. Those same people are also trying to kill me, and I’d like to increase my chances of making it out of all this with my bones still connected to one another. Self-preservation motivates me just as much as anything else.” “And once the danger has passed? What will you do with your power then?” … Huh. There’s a cutting question. Frankly, I’m so used to living in this exact second that I hadn’t stopped to consider what life might be like once all this is said and done. If I don’t die, the things I learn could turn me into… something else. More, than I ever had the impetus or inclination to become before. New abilities could be great. Or they could be a horrible curse, in the end. I don’t really care. It just has to happen. The future can show up at its own pace. “I don’t know. I honestly hadn’t thought about it. But I’m probably not going to try to overturn the Reclamation or anything. Way too much work. And I just don’t care enough.” The homunculus’s not-eyes stay on my not-eyes for a heavy second. I’m not sure what it’s trying to see. I don’t even know if it can see anything. But honestly, I don’t know a goddamn thing. That’s why I showed up here in the first place. It finally replies, “What have you brought?” I swing my backpack around and lay the books on the table. Carefully. While looking around to make sure the law hasn’t walked through the door in the last few minutes. The thing glances down for a split second, looks back at me, and says, “There are multiple copies of these volumes within the Library. The Librarian has no need of more.” I rub my face with my hands exasperatedly. I knew it was a long shot. I was told as much. But the idea that I came all the way out here for nothing is really mashing my potatoes something fierce. “Y’know… I’m betting you guys could save a lot of wasted time by just putting out a damn registry of what you do and don’t have.” “The Librarian has infinite time. And a public listing would be traceable. You have nothing else to offer?” I take a big slug of my beer and clunk the tankard down on the table, eyes looking directly at the core of the earth. I don’t have anything else to offer. I don’t have a goddamn thing. For the Librarian or Em or to anyone else. Maybe I should leave the city. Just… fuck right off and go be a monster in the mountains. No need for money, no need for cars or property or paperwork. Fuck it, all of it. At least then I could punch bears to death and terrorize villages and feel like something. Win at least some animal glory using nothing but the contents of my own- Wait. The contents of my own body. My lenses snap back up to the doll. “You’ll take media other than print, right?” “Yes.” I reach into my coat and whip out a blank data drive and a transfer cable. It’s a hell of a thing, being able to record literally everything you see. It makes it much more difficult for other people to call you a liar when you can literally show them what you saw, right out of your own eyes. That’s why I keep these on me. I don’t have to use them often, but in my lines of work it’s helpful to be able to prove my experiences to people with footage hot out of the brain boiler. One end of the cable goes into the drive, and the other stabs directly into a port at the rear of my occipital lobe. For the record, it is the peak of stupid for anyone with a cerebral array to just shove connectors into their skull without sanitizing them first, unless they happen to be a huge fan of aggressive meningitis. For reasons already explained, however, I do not have to give a damp hoot. Microbes are idiots. I am the bastard fuckspawn of magic and technology and I will not be stopped. I hit a little switch on the side of the drive and wait a second for it to boot up. Unstoppably. The light turns green and there’s a spasm of connection errors and driver misfires across my vision. My automatic interface software shows up with a gun and calmly explains to them that nobody has to get hurt as long as I get access to this drive right the hell now. The warnings and errors hold up their hands and reply that everything’s good here man, no need to do anything drastic. They show me to the door. The drive connects. This sensation is very hard to describe for anyone that’s never used their brain to talk to machines before. This is just a blank drive. Empty space. A clean warehouse in a white void, just patiently waiting for someone to put something into it. And right now, it’s connected directly to my brain. It has physically made the total volume of my brain larger. Not more full, not better at processing data or anything, just bigger. Imagine you’re hanging out minding your own business in your living room, sipping coffee and reading a book or whatnot. Then, for no reason, a huge door appears in your wall and opens, revealing a colossal amount of empty space in a huge room that wasn’t there before. That weird sudden shift of air pressure and subtle echo of newfound hugeness is kind of what this feels like. It’s unsettling, because the brain was never meant to receive these kinds of inputs in this specific order. This is right around where a lot of people puke, because the conflicting sensory data causes the brain to go completely haywire. It’s like motion sickness or vertigo - there’s a sense of something physical that just happened, despite the fact that the information from my eyes and ears tells me that I’m very much still sitting in a booth at a bar across from a freaky golem. I close my eyes. Less incoming information to try and juggle. I can’t upload literally everything, because that much video would take days to compress and upload. But I’ve got a different solution. After about a minute, I have my autoconnect software let the poor drive management programs go, and take my leave. I yank the cord from my head. This causes a painfully loud SNAP in my ear, makes my vision flash lightning-white for a moment, and puts a taste like liquid copper on my tongue. I bump my head with the palm of my hand once, and the static clears from my eyes. I turn the drive off and push it across the table toward the human facsimile. Then I point at it for emphasis. “That is an autotranscripted text log of every single conscious thought I’ve had since I was eighteen. That’s eleven years of a person’s life, straight from the source. The parts where I’m drunk are probably full of spelling errors. However, the autotranscript program might have processed some of my dreams, if they were vivid enough. So that’s something.” The homunculus just tilts its head at me, like a dog that’s heard a funny noise. “And why would the Librarian be interested in this?” “I have no idea. But I can promise you he doesn’t already have a copy - I’m one of a kind. Tell him to read it and find out.” The thing regards me silently for another long moment. Then it takes the drive and puts it in a coat pocket. “... Very well, Mr. Featherlight. The Library thanks you for your contribution.” It holds out a tiny business card. I try to take it, but its other hand whips up like a striking viper and clamps around my wrist. Its fingers can’t make it the whole way round (my wrists are as wide around as some people’s biceps), but the sheer force of its fingers digging into the meat of my arm is enough to make me grunt in pain. “But know this. Should you choose to disclose this information to another living soul, you will cease to exist. There are eyes everywhere. Be wise.” There’s still nothing in its eyes. That’s the face of an accountant showing up to his 15,936th day of work. Its hydraulic hand lets go of my arm, and I have to actually fight back tears from how fucking bad it hurts. If I’d been anyone else, that amount of pressure would have squeezed clean through the meat and bone of my innocent limb like a fat divorcee through ice cream. It gently places the rectangular card into my palm, gets up, and leaves the bar. Okay. I’m just gonna finish my beer, and pretend for just a few precious moments that I’m a guy that was never cursed with an interesting life. [here's theprevious chapter][and here's theentire story so faron Wattpad if that's what gargles your marbles][if you've enjoyed this tale ive woven,why not give me a tip? it's good to support writers you like ♥][and thanks for reading ♥]
This is definitely my longest story so far. Hope you all enjoy it! It was the night of the Royal Rumble where 30 women would battle to decide who would get a championship match at the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. Two women would start the match and every 90 seconds another would enter the match. The only way to be eliminated is by being thrown over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. Entrant #1: Alexa Bliss The match was about to get underway as Five feet of fury made her way to the ring, but not with her usual confidence. Whilst she tried to look calm and collected you could see in her eyes that being the number 1 entrant as well as having been humiliated by Trish Stratus, Mickie James, and Naomi had had an effect on her mindset. Little Miss Bliss entered the ring and waited for her opponent. Entrant #2: Sasha Banks The Boss was out next as she swayed her hips and strutted to the ring with confidence. Whilst she too had ran into some humiliating experiences with Lacey Evans and her former friend Bayley, Sasha was only focused on winning the rumble match and potentially main eventing Wrestlemania. She entered the ring and swayed her hips right in front of Alexa who looked disgusted. She removed her accessories as both women got to their respective corners and the bell rang. Both women walked slowly towards each other. “Aww what’s the matter Lexi? Scared I’m gonna humiliate you like how you’ve been the past three weeks?” Sasha smirked. “Heard you haven’t had much luck yourself Sasha, how’s Bayley by the way?” Alexa smiled as Sasha’s face dropped as she slapped the taste out of Alexa’s mouth. Alexa held her face and slowly looked back up in anger as she returned the favor to Banks’ shock. Sasha roared and tackled Alexa to the ground as both women rolled around striking each other with slaps and strikes. Sasha managed to get the advantage and mounted a prone Bliss backwards as Alexa tried to wriggle free. “Oh Alexa, you really can’t help but find yourself in humiliating positions nowadays huh?” Sasha smirked as she reached forward and tugged at the small trunks of Bliss causing a wedgie and for the petite blonde to squeal. Sasha gave her adversary’s butt a few playful smacks before Bliss managed to wriggle free. She got up quick and delivered one of her stiff strikes to Banks who span back into a prone position herself. Alexa was seething as she placed a boot on Banks’ ass and the other on the back of her head as she began to repeatedly stomp on the back of the boss’ head as she held the ropes. “A boss is nothing compared to a goddess!” Alexa screamed as the buzzer sound filled the arena. Entrant #3: Kairi Sane Alexa stopped what she was doing as she looked up the ramp nervously, she had already had a run in with Sane which didn’t go her way. The pirate princess charged down the ring whilst spinning her umbrella which she took to the ring with her. As she slid under the bottom rope Alexa held up her hands, seemingly not wanting anything to do with Kairi. Sane noticed Sasha charging towards her and slid under the boss’ legs before swinging up the umbrella between them. Sasha keeled over holding her crotch as Sane leaned back and cracked the umbrella over the ebony ass of Banks causing her adversary to recoil and fall down. Kairi was going for another before she suddenly turned to see Alexa running towards her. Bliss froze as Kairi made eye contact and turned away and bent over holding her head for protection. Kairi smiled as she noticed Alexa’s still wedgied butt and proceedingly wedged the umbrella between Alexa’s plump cheeks as Bliss gasped and held her butt in shock. Kairi drove the umbrella forwards and sent Alexa shoulder first into the ringpost before pulling her down to a seated position. Kairi looked and saw both other competitors seated in opposite corners and delivered sliding forearms to both before slapping her own ass in both their directions. Entrant #4: Mickie James The veteran skips down to the ring as a look of horror takes over a seated Bliss’ face. Mickie enters and delivers a lou thesz press to Sane as she bashes the japanese women’s head off the canvas. Sasha takes hold of Mickie and tosses her to the corner but James hops up and wraps her legs around the boss’ neck. She squeezes her legs together before delivering a hurricanrana, sending Sasha across the ring. Mickie celebrates before quickly turning to grab Alexa’s hand who had just gone for a cheap shot from behind. Alexa shook her head in fear before Mickie pulled her across and over her knee. “No! No Mickie please!” Alexa shrieked as she struggled. “I missed getting my hands on this cute biscuit butt!” Mickie smirked as she began spanking away at Bliss’ booty as Alexa squealed and kicked her legs. After a minute Sasha came out of nowhere and performed a running meteora to Mickie as she hits the former womens champion in the face crotch first. Entrant #5: Naomi Naomi dances down the ramp and twerks on the apron before entering the ring. Her and Banks stare at each other before embracing and putting their fists together. “Unity!” They both shout as they look around at the other competitors. Naomi gets on the second rope facing the crowd and bends over whilst gesturing towards her big ebony ass. Sasha smirks and picks up Mickie James and bounces her face first off of Naomi’s wobbly butt. Sasha then turns to Alexa and grabs her by the hair, Naomi turns and smirks as it was only a week after her and Alexa’s encounter. “Hold up a sec sis!” Naomi giggled as she wedgied up her outfit to expose more of her phat asscheeks. “Toss her over!” Sasha tosses Alexa to the corner and Naomi hops up and places her feet on either side of Bliss’ head. “Remember this bitch?!” Naomi laughs as she pulls Bliss in and twerks all over the small blonde's face before kicking her back across the ring. Both women taunt before Kairi Sane cracks her umbrella on Sasha’s chest and points it towards Naomi who is still taunting on the turnbuckles. Kairi charges and cracks the umbrella over Naomi's big booty causing a squeal. She tees up for another shot but Sasha grabs the umbrella and it falls to the outside. Kairi goes for a backfist but Banks ducks and has Sane in a rear hiplock. Naomi looks behind to see Kairi and goes for a second rope rear view. Kairi however slams her hips into Sasha and escapes as the boss takes her former partners ass straight to the face. Naomi turns to see what she’s done as Sane laughs and smacks her own ass again, the laughing stops when Naomi does hit the rear view on her this time. Naomi goes to try and throw Bliss over the top rope. Entrant #6: Nikki Cross The twisted sister enters the fray and sprints down the ramp as Naomi releases Alexa and gestures for Nikki to bring it on. Cross slides in the ring and between Naomi’s legs before kneeling up and biting the former funkadactyl on the booty. Naomi squeals and hops around the ring as Nikki won’t let go. Naomi climbs to the second rope and manages to kick Cross off her before holding her butt in pain, Alexa spots the opportunity and charges to Naomi and uses both hands to push her adversary by the ass over the ropes and down to the floor. With Naomi gone Alexa turns to Cross who picks her up as both partners embrace. They both turn as Mickie James delivers a dropkick to both women. As Nikki stirs Mickie grabs her in a headlock. Mickie’s look goes to confusion as she hears Nikki giggling as Cross raises up a hand. “What goes around, comes around!” Nikki laughs as she swings her arm down and grabs Mickie by the pussy. The veteran gasps and releases her hold as she is frozen in shock. Alexa walks up behind and yanks up Mickie’s trunks into a wedgie as Nikki releases her hold and licks her fingers sadistically. As Alexa has hold of the veteran, Cross unzips her own jacket and forces Mickie to motorboat her as the twisted sister laughs maniacally. Nikki takes a hold of Mickie’s trunks with her partner and both women toss James over the top rope to the floor. Nikki turns and goes to pick up Kairi who is laid prone on the canvas. “No Nikki, wait a sec!” Alexa smirks as she slides under the ropes and comes back in with Sane’s umbrella. As Kairi begins to stir she sticks her butt up in the air. Alexa scowls and brings the umbrella down on Kairi’s ass. The japanese superstar screams as her body bounces up and down with each strike. Alexa carries on the strikes to the point where Nikki has to pull her off. All the rage from the last few weeks had taken its toll on Alexa. She eventually calmed down as she and Nikki picked up Sane and wedgied up her trunks before tossing her too over the top rope. Nikki and Alexa now turned to a downed Sasha Banks. Entrant #7: Trish Stratus Both Alexa and Nikki turned in shock as the WWE legend strutted down the ramp. Trish smirked at a nervous looking Bliss before entering the ring. Nikki roared and charged Stratus who ducked under her and tackled Alexa before repeatedly bashing Bliss’ head off the mat. Cross grabbed Trish by the hair and tossed her into the corner. Nikki took a run up and went for a splash but Trish dodged as Nikki flew up and draped herself on the top rope. Trish gave Nikki’s ass a double handed slap before pulling down the back of her opponent’s tights revealing the big pale ass of the scottish superstar. Trish noticed Alexa trying to crawl away but Stratus grabbed her by the waistband and pulled her back before taking her by the hair. Trish face Alexa towards her tag partners exposed wobbly ass. “Pucker up little miss bitch!” Trish smirked as she drove Alexa face first between Nikki’s big pasty asscheeks. Alexa hopped up and down as muffled cries could be heard whilst Cross strangely giggled at the pleasure, not realising it was Alexa who was embedded in her behind. Trish eventually pulled Alexa away and onto the mat before placing both hands on Cross’ butt and shoving Nikki over the ropes to the floor. Entrant #8: Toni Storm The New Zealander from NXT UK made her way to the ring and down the ramp as Stratus looked on with an excited look on her face. Toni entered as both women had a respectful staredown. They shook hands before circling each other as Trish went for some side kicks striking Storm’s ass. Trish looked concerned as her kicks seemed to have no effect as Storm laughed and slapped her ass in Trish’s direction. Toni kicked Trish in the gut causing the legend to kneel down. Toni noticed Sasha running towards her and gave her a kick causing both women to be knelt down either side of Storm. Toni took Trish by the hair and began to circle her hips sensually as Trish could do nothing but stare at the young blonde’s big ass before Storm smashed her butt off Trish’s face. Toni turned as she felt Banks hit a weak forearm on her ass. Storm grabbed Sasha by the hair and rubbed her ass in the boss’ face before hitting another hip smash. Alexa came running in from behind but Toni stuck out her butt and Bliss bounced off. Storm performed a hipdrop on a prone Alexa as she sat and waited for the next entrant. Entrant #9: Peyton Royce The Aussie made her way to the ring delivering her classic hip sway. Storm couldn’t help but lick her lips at the thought of getting revenge on one of the members of the IIconics after they humiliated her previously on Raw. Peyton stood on the apron and began taunting Storm. Royce leaned over the rope talking trash but Storm managed to grab her by the hair. “Time to teach you a lesson you little brat!” Storm smirked as she began to spank Royce as she was draped over the ropes. Peyton squealed and kicked her legs before Storm eventually pulled her into the ring. Toni kept hold of Royce’s hair and wedgied up her own gear before she repeatedly bashed Peyton’s face against her jiggly ass. Toni kept doing this until the next entrant. Entrant #10: Billie Kay Toni couldn’t believe her luck as she was about to get her hands on the other IIconics member as well. The tall Aussie ran to the ring to aid her partner. Billie slides into the ring but Storm instantly dives on her and has now mounted her opponent backwards. Billie squealed as Storm grabbed her trunks and yanked them as Billie’s hips raised off the mat due to the force of the wedgie. Billie squealed and reached out to Peyton who was dazed in the center of the ring. “Now this is...IIconic!” Toni smirked as she rose up and took Billie by the hair. Storm was preparing for another hip smash but froze as Peyton Royce had recovered and hit a low blow from behind. Billie took Toni’s legs from under her so Storm fell on her back. Both partners took a leg each and shouted ‘IIconic!’ as they yanked Storm’s legs apart and Toni screamed holding her crotch in pain. “You know what to do!” Billie said as her and Peyton turned Storm over and placed her over both their knees. Toni struggled but it was no use. “Oh Toni, when will you learn that messing with us will only end in you being exposed as even more as a loser!” Peyton laughed as Billie joined in. Both IIconics raised their arms and they began spanking the big wobbly booty of Toni as the New Zealander squealed. The IIconics laughed as they took a cheek each and even alternated. When Storm’s ass was a nice shade of pink the IIconics each took her by the trunks and back of her top. Toni received a large wedgie as she was carried to the ropes and draped over the top. “IIconic!” Both women shouted and did their pose before booting Storm in the ass to the outside. Entrant #11: Asuka The IIconics looks fell as The Empress of Tomorrow danced down the ramp and ran into the ring. Billie went for a clothesline but Asuka ducked under and hit Royce with a hip attack. Billie went for another strike but Asuka ducked before delivering a tittie twister and Kay squealed. Asuka tossed Kay into the corner and hit another running hip attack before slapping her ass and taunting in the ring. The Japanese superstar turned to see Sasha running at her but hit a roundhouse kick sending Sasha straight down to the mat. Peyton took Asuka by the arm and went to Irish whip her but the empress countered and launched Royce into her partner. Peyton bounced off Kay and fell backwards to the mat. Billie looked groggy before dropping forwards and landing head first on her partner's crotch as Peyton shrieked. Asuka grabbed Billie and tried to lift her over the ropes but it was a struggle. After a few seconds Asuka heard something and dodged out the way as Peyton accidentally knocked her partner over the top rope to the outside. “No! Billie!” Peyton screamed as she held her head in shock. Asuka meanwhile had an evil grin and stared down at Peyton’s plump booty. She pulled down the back of Peyton’s trunks and spat green mist all over the Aussie’s ass. Peyton shrieked and held her butt in pain as she hopped up and down and Asuka laughed and mimicked her actions. A few moments later Asuka picked up Royce from behind and hit an atomic drop which sent Peyton flying over the top rope to the floor. Asuka taunted before feeling a faint forearm on her back, she turned to see Alexa Bliss looking stunned and worried. Alexa went to run but Asuka kept hold of her trunks as Bliss fell to her knees and tried to crawl away. Alexa kicked and flailed in fear so much so that she accidentally wriggled out of her own trunks. Bliss stood up and looked down before gasping and trying to cover up her big ass which was only covered now by a black thong. “Wow! Big Bootttaaayy!” Asuka laughed and shouted. “Give me those!” Alexa went to reach for her trunks but Asuka dodged and whipped the leather of Bliss’ rear causing a yelp. Alexa tried one more time but was met with the same fate before watching Asuka toss the trunks out of the ring. “Screw you!” Alexa shouted as she slapped Asuka across the face. Asuka turned back in a look of rage as Bliss held her hands out in apology. Alexa went to run but Asuka grabbed hold of her thong. As Bliss tried to run, the thong stretched and Asuka smirked before letting go as the material pinged off Alexa's ass. Bliss held her butt in pain before Asuka picked her up and placed her on the top rope and pulled her down into a reverse tree of woe. Asuka signalled to begin a spanking as Alexa pleaded but the Empress felt a tap in her shoulder. “May I join?” Trish grinned at Asuka who gave a shrug. “No no! Please ladies! Please don’t spank my ass anymore! I've had enough!” Bliss pleaded but it was no use. Both Asuka and Stratus began delivering chops to Alexa’s booty as the small blonde cried out in pain and her buscuit booty wobbled. Just before the next entrant, Asuka raised Bliss back up as she allowed Trish to push Bliss off the top rope to the outside. Entrant #12: Lana Asuka, Trish, and Sasha remain as the Ravishing Russian makes her way to the ring with a big grin on her face. Lana takes 30 seconds to enter the ring and as she did both Asuka and Trish stared at her. Lana slapped her ass and began twerking to the others' confusion before Stratus booted her in the butt as Lana fell onto the middle rope. Asuka bounced off the opposite ropes and landed ass first on the back of Lana’s head before bouncing up and down as Lana was choked on the ropes. As Asuka laughs she fails to notice Trish run up and clothesline her over the top rope and out of the ring. And just like that, one of the favorites was gone. Entrant #13: Paige Trish looks shocked as the anti-diva makes her return to the ring. The crowd goes wild as Paige lets out her signature scream and makes her way to the ring. She gets on the apron and pulls Lana forward slightly before delivering some hard knees to Lana’s boobs as Trish has the view of the Russian’s ass jiggling. Paige stepped into the ring as her and Trish went to shake hands. Paige however gave Trish a hard headbutt knocking the legend down. Paige turned to see Lana’s ravishing booty displayed perfectly. She kicked her enemies legs slightly more apart before she began delivering more knees this time to Lana’s pussy and butt. Paige even wedged up Lana’s attire and gave her asscheek an evil lick as the blonde squealed. Paige pulled Lana up and sat her dazed adversary on the top rope. “This is my house bitch!” Paige screamed before she ripped Lana’s attire down revealing Lana’s tanned big naked breasts. Paige looked shocked and laughed as Lana stirred and covered her boobs. Paige moved Lana’s hands and pinched her nipples causing a squeal. “No bra? Wow you really are a slut.” Paige laughed before delivering a headbutt. She jiggled the blonde’s big tits a bit more as Lana fell off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Paige turned to a laid out Trish Stratus and sensually crawled up her body as she was about to deliver some more headbutts. Entrant #14: Mandy Rose Paige drops Trish and turns as her former absolution teammate Mandy Rose struts confidently down the ramp and enters the ring to face off with her former leader. “Looks like you and Sonya couldn’t keep it together huh? I leave and it eventually all falls apart.” Paige said. “That Sonya was a two faced bitch Paige, but I guess she had you to learn from.” “Screw you! I’m the only reason you’re here!” Paige shouted as she grappled with Mandy. Mandy got around Paige and kicked her leg so the Brit fell to all fours. Mandy mounted the Norwich native and began riding her around the ring whilst spanking her ass. “Bet you’re used to being ridden you whore!” Mandy laughed as she continued slapping Paige’s jiggly pale booty as the anti diva yelped. Paige managed to escape to the corner but Mandy began delivering some hard chops to Paige’s new big tits as Paige eventually crumbled to a seated position. Mandy turned and halted as she stood one on one with Trish Stratus. Both women eyed each other up. “So, a lot of people seem to see a lot of me in you these days.” Trish said. “Really? I don’t see it. You never looked this good.” Mandy grinned as she sexually caressed her body. “Oh I sure did baby, but you’re right about us not being similar, you’ll never be as much of a draw as me!” Trish smirked before her and Rose began trading chops to their big bouncy tits. Mandy went for another but Trish ducked and kicked Rose in the butt as Mandy spun around. Rose bounced back off the ropes as Trish got her in a headlock and signalled for the Stratusfaction. Trish hopped up but looked surprised as she stayed lifted in the air. Mandy dropped Trish down on the top rope which sliced between the Hall of Famers legs. Trish groaned as Mandy took hold of the rope and shook it up and down as it went depper in Trish's ass and pussy, eventually Trish tumbled off and fell to the floor. Mandy delivered a running knee to Banks and waited for the next entrant. Entrant #15: Sonya Deville Mandy’s face fell slightly as her former partner and best friend ran to the ring. Sonya slid under the ropes and stared at her raging opponent. “Aww what’s wrong Mandy? Still mad about when I humiliated and recorded you all that time ago?” Sonya laughed before Mandy tackled her to the canvas and began raining down slaps. Sonya managed to break free and grabbed hold of the ropes and held her hands up. Mandy was having none of it and marched towards Deville and was met with a thumb to the eye. Rose turned around holding her face as Sonya smirked and knetl down before delivering a stiff low blow. Mandy gasped and fell to her knees. Sonya pulled Mandy over her knee and sadistically caressed the blonde’s big booty. “Oh Mandy, I never get tired of spanking this big bimbo bubble butt of yours.” Sonya licks her lips before she begins spanking the rear of the golden goddess. Mandy squeals and kicks her legs as her ass wobbles immensely as Deville laughs evilly. Sonya hears some steps behind her but it's too late as Paige comes out of nowhere with a stiff knee sending Deville to the floor. Paige looked down as Sonya was laid across a dazed Mandy. “Oh you guys, you really needed me huh? My first lesson back will be teaching Sonya here that what goes around comes around.” Paige grins as she tugs at the back of Deville’s tights and reveals her round tan ass. “Damn Sonya, who knew you were packing this much cake!” Paige laughed as she tossed the tights out of the ring. She picked up Sonya and shoved her shoulder first into the ring post before placing her hands on either side of the top turnbuckle. Paige let out a scream before she began stomping between Deville’s asscheeks as Sonya cried out in pain. Paige heard running and dodged out of Mandy’s way who went for a shoulder tackle but instead bounced face first off Deville’s ass. Paige dragged Mandy to a seated position in one of the corners as Sonya fell to a seated position in the opposite. Paige noticed Sasha in the other corner and delivered a big running knee before the next entrant came out. Entrant 16: Kelly Kelly Paige chuckled as the former Divas Champion came out to the ring. Kelly had a big grin on her face as she was thrilled to be back and entered the ring as Paige continued to laugh. “Seriously? You? Look everyone! WWE’s biggest bimbo has come to get her ass beat!” “Yeah, and you’d know about your ass getting ‘beat’ huh?” Kelly smirked as Paige’s face dropped as she ran at Kelly who swiftly dodged. Paige bounced front first off the ropes as Kelly got on all fours and Paige fell back over her. As the anti-diva tried to get up Kelly gave her ass a big smack causing the Brit to yelp and hold her booty as Kelly wiggled her own butt in Paige’s direction whilst grinning. Paige charged again angrily but Kelly yet again dodged and hit the classic spinning hurricanrana sending Paige into the corner in a seated position. Kelly Kelly looked around and noticed all four remaining women in the match were all seated. She pointed to each one before wedging up her already tiny trunks. She went to Paige first and twerked all over the anti-divas face as Paige flailed around helplessly, she ran to the opposite corner and did the same to Sasha Banks. The sounds of Kelly’s buttcheeks slapping her opponents faces could be heard clearly. She next ran over to Sonya and did the same, but when she stopped Sonya looked more pleased than disgusted by what had just happened. Lastly Kelly shook and slapped her ass towards Mandy before running in. Kelly was about to start shaking her booty but Mandy desperately pulled down the back of Kelly’s trunks and bit down hard on the diva’s asscheek. Kelly screamed and hopped forwards as Rose still had a hold before Mandy yanked up Kelly’s thong. “There’s only room for one blonde bombshell around here bitch!” Mandy scowled as she pulled the thong over Kelly’s head. She let go for a moment as she admired Kelly tiptoeing around with her head back whilst holding her butt before Mandy hoisted Kelly over the top rope by her stretched thong. Mandy leaned over the top rope and blew a kiss. “And that’s why I’m the golden go…” Mandy paused as she felt someone prodding her rear, she turned her head to see Sonya Deville grinning. “Better luck next time loser!” Sonya grinned whilst Mandy’s eyes widened in shock but it was too late as Sonya placed her hands on her former friend’s round ass and pushed Rose over to the floor. “Yeah that’s right you bimbo! I will always be more talented than you!” Sonya laughed as she leant over the top rope but Mandy quickly grabbed her arm. “Hey, what are you doing? Let go!” Sonya shouted as she struggled with Rose. Paige stirred and saw Sonya’s predicament. She ran up and delivered a superkick to Sonya’s displayed ass and Deville fell over the ropes and onto Mandy. Paige looked down and smirked. “Guess I’ll always be the leader of you two losers! No wonder why I'm still more successful” Paige smirked as the next entrant was about to make her way to the ring. Entrant #17: Scarlett Paige looked confused as the music of Karrion Kross hit and Scarlett made her way to the ring with a sadistic look on her face. She enters and just stares at Paige. “Who are you supposed to be then?” Paige asks, looking slightly confused and creeped out. “You’re worst nightmare!” Scarlett shouted evilly. “We’ll see about that.” Paige said as her and Scarlett locked up. The Brit got the early advantage and turned Scarlett into a rear hiplock. Scarlett however relaxes and smiles before bashing her hips back into Paige’s stomach causing the pale superstar to fall to her knees. Scarlett shook her hips in a mesmerizing fashion before bouncing her big pale ass off Paige’s face. Paige crawled over to the corner as Scarlett grinned and looked at Sasha and Paige who were both sitting down. Scarlett roared and sprinted at Sasha before smashing her wobbly ass off Banks’ head. Scarlett paused and rubbed her big butt all over Sasha’s face. Scarlett pointed to the opposite corner and charged at Paige as she did the same. Paige went limp as this stinkface was much worse than Kelly Kelly’s as Scarlett’ ass was so much bigger. The twisted superstar’s asscheeks clapped over Paige’s face as the anti-diva was engulfed in her adversary’s booty. Scarlett eventually stopped and picked up Paige over her shoulder. “You will all fall...and...pray!” Scarlett shouted as she smacked Paige’s ass and dumped the Brit over the top rope in a big upset. Scarlett was about to hoist Sasha up until the buzzer hit for the next entrant. Entrant #18: Charlotte Flair Scarlett’s grin didn’t falter as The Queen made her cool and collected the entrance to the ring. Despite the objective of the match Charlotte still did her cartwheel and split into the ring, clearly not taking Scarlett seriously. Charlotte stares at the pale blonde but instead begins stomping on Sasha before turning back to Scarlett. “Don’t worry hun, I know about your whole spiel, now let’s say two queens work together?” Charlotte proposed as Scarlett shrugged and got on the second rope and bent over. Charlotte took Sasha by the hair. “The boss will never match up to the queen!” Charlotte scowls before she bashes Banks’ head off of Scarlett’s big ass three times as Scarlett laughs maniacally. Charlotte quickly dropped Sasha as Scarlett turned around awith an evil grin. Charlotte went towards Banks but quickly changed and chopped Scarlett who gasped. Charlotte pulled Scarlett down so she was in a reverse tree of woe. “You may be a freaky bitch, but you still have a lot of learning to do fatass.” Charlotte smirks as she wobbles Scarlett’s pasty buttcheeks. Scarlett shrieks as Flair begins chopping her jiggly ass. Flair notices Sasha stirring and grabs her again. “Hey it’s like Bayley all over again! Looks like you will always be an ass kisser!” Charlotte grinned as she planted Banks’ face between the upsidedown asscheeks of Scarlett before bashing the boss’ head off the large booty ten times as the crowd counted and Scarlett groaned. Charlotte drops a limp Sasha and pulls Scarlett back up. As the new NXT superstar holds her sore butt in pain Charlotte delivers a big boot knocking her to the floor. Entrant #19: Bayley The former hugger makes her way to the ring nervously as Charlotte looks on, clearly upset about Bayley’s previous shenanigans. Bayley entered the ring slowly and held her hands up. “Woah Charlotte look, I know you're mad about what happened at Summerslam, but let’s be honest, it would have all been fine if that bitch over there hadn’t been such a brat and made me turn on her! Who even calls themselves the boss anyway? Let’s teach her a lesson!” Bayley said. Charlotte took a moment to think and then nodded, she held a prone Sasha down as Bayley tugged at the boss’ small trunks and wriggled them down her plump ebony ass, her butt wobbling with each tug. Bayley then sat on Sasha’s ass whilst Charlotte pulled the cousin of Snoop Dogg’s top off. Sasha was now just in a dark blue thong and bra. Bayley picked Sasha up and held her arms back as Charlotte spat on her hand and began delivering chops to Banks’ perky breasts. After 30 seconds Bayley turned Sasha around and put her head between her thighs as Charlotte began chopping Sasha’s ass. “That’s right Charlotte, beat that boss booty!” Entrant #20: Becky Lynch Bayley turns and drops Sasha to the mat as her and Charlotte watch Becky Lynch make her way to the ring. Becky enters and Bayley goes to give her a hug. Becky makes a fist with her hand causing Bayley to turn and hold her head in fear. Becky kicks Bayley in the ass, knocking her down, before Charlotte and her begin to brawl. Becky ducks a punch and begins delivering double handed slaps to Flair’s massive tits before Charlotte manages to fight back and throw Becky to the corner. Charlotte uses her height and long legs to choke Becky with her foot as Lynch kicks her legs which are off the ground. “I will always be superior to you Becky!” Charlotte shouts before Sasha Banks grabs her high leg and tosses it away so Charlotte lands in the splits as all four horseowmen are in the ring. The queen groans and holds her crotch before Banks delivers a dropkick to her face. Sasha uses a hand to grab Charlotte by the hair and another to grab her waistband. “Time for some revenge!” Sasha scowls as she hikes up Charlotte’s trunks into a wedgie and hoists her over the top rope. Charlotte manages to hold on and stands on the apron, she goes for a strike but Sasha ducks and applies a titty twister causing Charlotte to let go of the rope and lose balance before falling to the floor. “Yeah queeny! Looks like daddy can’t help you out all the time!” Banks smiled whilst leaning over the rope. Whilst Sasha was too busy gloating Bayley made a picture frame gesture targeting Sasha’s exposed asscheeks before running up and dropkicking Sasha over the ropes and to the floor. Sasha looked up and hit the floor in frustrationas Bayley smiled. “Aww better luck next time Sasha!” Bayley gloated and made crying gestures mockingly before the next entrant was set to come out. Entrant #21: Lacey Evans Bayley’s face instantly dropped as her foe Lacey Evans made her way to the ring, casually fanning herself before sensually pulling off her skirt. Lacey brought her skirt in the ring and threw it in Bayley’s face. As Bayley took off the skirt she was met with a womens right and was floored instantly. “Ahh just like old times.” Lacey smiled as she walked around her adversary. Lacey still had her rubber gloves on as she pulled a dazed Bayley up and over her knee. “Oh dear Bayley, you just never learn your lesson huh? At Least your ex-friend Sasha has come around, yet it looks like you still need some disciplining.” Lacey smirks as she wriggles down Bayley’s tights revealing a white thong and Bayley’s big wobbling ass. Lacey caressed this teasingly as the former hugger began to stir. “Wait...wh...No! No no no! Please Lacey no! Don't spank me! Please!” Bayley pleaded as she kicked her legs but it was no use as Evans began relentlessly smacking the big booty of Bayley. Bayley squealed and cried out as Lacey went to town on her butt. Lacey then signalled to the crowd and used both her hands to deliver ten hard double handed spanks which the crowd counted to. After the ninth Becky tapped Lacey’s shoulder and gestured, Evans shrugged and allowed Becky to deliver the final smack. Lacey and Becky both took Bayley and went to throw her over the top. They turned away before realising that Bayley was stuck draped over the top rope. Becky went to give her a push but Lacey held her back. “Wait a second Becky, I reckon this is a sign, a sign from the lord that this little brat needs her tushy beaten a bit more.” Lacey smirked as she peeled off her gloves and handed one to Becky. Her and Lynch went to either side of Bayley and began whipping her big ass with the gloves causing the former hugger to scream. After 30 seconds Lacey and Becky tossed away the gloves and pushed Bayley over, the Smackdown superstar hitting her ass on the apron as she fell to the floor. Entrant #22: Zelina Vega The latina made her way to the ring and removed her Vega style mask and claws before entering the ring. As she was entering Lacey turned Becky around and delivered a womens right sending Lynch to the floor. “You didn’t think I forgot about our past do you Becky?” Lacey pouted sarcastically as she turned to Zelina. Vega walked up to Lacey and the size comparison was almost laughable. Zelina begins talking trash and gives Evans a push causing Lacey to scowl. Zelina’s face goes to fear as she goes to run but Evans grabs her waistband. Zelina runs on the spot before the sassy southern belle pulls her in and delivers an atomic drop. Vega yelps and turns around holding her butt before Lacey grabs her head and plants it between her big tits. Zelina flails around before Evans tosses her into the corner and delivers a splash, using her boobs to crush Zelina into a seated position. Lacey drags Becky over to Zelina and rests her on top of her before jumping up into a top rope handstand and swinging back down into a bronco buster crushing her two opponents below. Entrant #23: Liv Morgan The former member of the Riott squad strutted down the ring in her leather getup as Lacey looked on in disgust, Liv crawled through the ropes as both women stared each other down. “Urgh, that’s no way for a lady to dress.” Lacey scowled. “I’m not looking to be a lady dear, I’m looking to be your daddy!” Liv laughed as Lacey ran over. Liv did a matrix style dodge before rolling Lacey up in an o’connor roll. “You nasty! You can’t pin anyone in this match!” Lacey said as she tried to struggle free. “Who said anything about pinning?” Liv smirked as she slowly pulled Lacey’s trunks over the lady’s plump rear. “Wh...what are you doing?!” “Teaching a ‘lady’ a lesson.” Liv grinned as she licked both her hands and began raining down smacks on Evans’ derriere as the sassy southern belle squealed and tried to struggle free, her booty only covered by a blue thong. Liv alternated slaps to each cheek and even in between before Zelina ran from behind and dropkicked Liv in the ass. Morgan fell forward prone as Zelina placed two hands on the top rope and stood on Liv’s butt. Zelina began stomping up and down on the blondes plump booty as Liv cried out, Zelina finished by using the middle rope to leap up and deliver a double stomp to Morgan’s ass. Zelina noticed Becky rising up in the corner and charged but Lynch lifted her up as Vega fell on the top turnbuckle. Lynch pulled Vega down into a tree of woe and whilst doing so pulled her top off to reveal a small pink bra. Zelina screamed and tried to stop her boobs from falling out as Lynch climbed to the middle rope. “Good think you're not the man” Lynch chuckled as she began stomping down between Vega’s legs as the latina groaned in pain. CONTINUED IN COMMENTS...
5.45pm: Bingo giant Rank, which also owns Grosvenor casinos and the Hard Rock Café chain, has bought popular betting website Blue Square. By Owen Gibson. Rank took over the reigns of Blue Square in the January of 2003. Blue Square is licensed for operation in the UK, and is governed by the strict gambling laws of the country. They offer their members online betting, mobile internet, interactive television, live casino, poker and telephone services, which has greatly helped widen the reach of the Betfair acquires Blue Square Bet 2 April 2013 After announcing in January that it was to conduct a review into its Blue Square Bet enterprise, land-based and online gambling operator Rank Group has now sold certain assets including the customer database for its virtual sportsbetting business to rival Betfair. Jumer's is a casino hotel in Rock Island, IL serving the Quad Cities, including Davenport, IA in gaming & entertainment. Visit us today! Internet betting exchange Betfair has announced it has acquired “certain assets” from competing online bookmaker Blue Square for £5 million ($7.6m). In the announcement earlier today, Betfair
The Number 8 Number Songs By BubblePopBox Learn The ...
Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) · The Beatles Anthology 2 ℗ 1996 Calderstone Productions Limited (a divisi... Bert’s favorite number is six! Six is one more than the number of fingers on your hand and one less than the number of days in a week. Do you have a favorite... Hi everyone! Thanks Adriano for this project! :D THANK YOU FOR SURPASSING 20.000.000 VIEWS, I LOVE YOU! :D I hope you enjoyed it, please leave a like and a c... Contact Terri Morgan: 601-906-3931 Rosemary Stovall: 601-955-1522 John Rea: 601-715-6548 Video Shot and edited by Swift Aerial Photography & Cinematics Contact: (662)687-1259 swift.jacksonbridges ... RJ Basha what's app number 9715479456 Mr Raghul (Panther) contact number 9003000070 ... BLUE TEAM VS NOOB FAMILY (All ... HCC Vs GHC Live Match,Greater vs helsin online betting 9079358867 4,590 ...